Universal Music Agrees To Settle Chuck D, Rick James Digital Royalties Class Action Suit For $11.5M
Creative label accounting paired with outdated laws led to underpaid artists who had no choice but to take labels, digital broadcasters and others to court. Now the first round of lawsuits are being resolved, but you can be sure that more will follow.
Universal Music Group and plaintiffs' attorneys representing clients in class action lawsuits regarding digital music download royalties today submitted a settlement of $11.5 million for preliminary court approval.
In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs including the estate of Rick James, Chuck D of Public Enemy, and others alleged that UMG failed to pay proper royalties when consumers bought downloads.
Under the settlement UMG will pay a maximum of $11.5 million to for past digital download activity, cover attorneys' fees and also increase digital download royalties by approximately 10% going forward to class members who submit a claim.
In a statement, UMG commented, "Although we are confident we appropriately paid royalties on digital downloads and adhered to the terms of contracts, we are pleased to amicably resolve this matter and avoid continued legal costs."
Len Simon, one of the lead plaintiffs' attorneys, said, "This settlement is a fair resolution of this controversy over how to compensate artists for their valuable work in a new medium which we believe was not contemplated by their contracts, many drafted in the 1970s or 1980s. And it compensates these artists now, rather than after additional years of litigation and uncertainty."
Are You Owed Money?
If you were ever signed to Capital or Universal you may be eligible. According to the press release, class members can learn more about the settlement, including how to submit claims at www.umgsettlement.com. Of course, the site isn't ready yet…