Tag Archives: licensing

Sony Sued by Weird Al Yankovic for Underpayment of Digital Royalties

3 Apr

Sony Music Entertainment has been sued yet again for underpayment of royalties (see our earlier post entitled Sony Sued by Toto Over Unpaid Online Royalty Payments).  Parody singer Weird Al Yankovic recently filed a $5 million lawsuit against Sony alleging Sony is not paying 50% of revenues per licensing deals as the parties agreed but is instead paying a straight royalty for download sales.  In addition to his underpayment of digital royalties claim, Yankovic also alleges Sony did not give him any money from Sony’s settlements with peer-to-peer music sharing sites  Napster, Kazaa and Grokster.

“The lawsuit filed in Federal court in the Southern District of New York follows a recent federal class action suit against Warner Music Group by band Tower of Power that makes similar claims of underpayment of royalties.

Both Yankovic’s suit and Tower of Power’s class action rely on the famous 2010 appellate ruling involving Eminem. Similarly, the rapper sued his record label, Universal Music Group, for the way royalties are calculated for digital music — whether they are considered a license or a sale.

Ultimately, the court found that digital music should be treated as a license. Like most artists, Eminem signed a contract that specifies he receives 50 percent of royalties for a license as compared to 12 percent for a sale. The Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of the lower court’s decision, so the 2010 appellate ruling stands as the precedent in cases regarding digital royalties.”

To view the full article from The Huffington Post, follow this link.

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When Big Names Play Nice…

9 Feb

As a member of the very small percentage of people who did not watch the Super Bowl this past Sunday (I was preoccupied watching the 60 minutes interview of Anna Wintour…), I just recently became aware of Madonna’s large use of the Vogue logo on her performance stage. Not only was the logo present beneath her and behind her as a backdrop during her performance of “Vogue”, but faux magazine covers also appeared in front of the stage. And exactly how much did this cost Madonna? The answer may surprise you – nothing.

Although she contacted Vogue in  early January for licensing, Anna Wintour and her team decided not to charge the super star saying “We’re so very grateful to Madonna to have been part of such a spectacular performance. We naturally expect a new audience of football fans.” The singer and the magazine have historically held a longstanding, good relationship with each other.

The take away lesson? Always play nice with others. The full article can be found here.

ASCAP Reaches Fee Settlement with Radio Stations

8 Feb

The US District Court in the Southern District of New York approved the settlement agreement between ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) and the Radio Music License Committee (RMLC) setting the fees radio stations are to pay to publicly perform ASCAP’s 8.5 million plus works through 2016.  The Broadcast Law Blog recently highlighted the details of this settlement:

“Music radio pays ASCAP 1.7% of “revenues subject to fee from radio broadcasting.”   Under this new deal, New Media revenues that are more than just simulcasting your over-the-air signal are also covered, and are also subject to the same 1.7% of revenue fee, but there is a 25% deduction from that fee (presumably due to the higher commissions customarily paid for online revenues, but subject to adjustment back to 12% if the total of the higher new media deductions would cost ASCAP more than $5,000,000 than if the deductions had been at the 12% level).  Other good news includes that the broadcast industry has been paying too much from January 1, 2010, when this rate period began, until now, and the radio industry is owed a $75 million refund by ASCAP.”

Follow this link to check out the full blog.

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