ROB ZOMBIE, WHITESNAKE Suing UMG Over Digital Royalties

According to the Courthouse News Service, Rob Zombie, WHITESNAKE and folk musician Dave Mason have filed a federal class action against UMG Recordings (Universal Music Group), accusing the label of not paying artists to license their music as digital downloads and ringtones.

The suit follows a victory on similar grounds several months ago by producers of Eminem‘s early recordings, and a similar suit filed last month by the estate of Rick James.

According to The New York Times, “In all of these cases, the artists or their associates say that their record company violated their contracts by counting a digital download as a sale instead of a licensing, which would result in a substantially higher royalty.”

The definition could mean the difference between 10-15%, and a 50% cut for artists.

“Plaintiffs here allege, and the Ninth Circuit found, that digital download and ringtone income received by UMG derives from a license,” according to the complaint.

“By this lawsuit, Plaintiffs seek to compel UMG to account to and pay its other recording artists and music producers (i.e. those not directly involved in the [Eminem] litigation) their rightful share of the licensing income paid to UMG for downloads and mastertones [ringtones] of the recorded music licensed by UMG to these entities,” the lawsuit states.

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