'Weird Al' Yankovic Suing Sony Music for $5 Million
"Weird Al" Yankovic, through his company Ear Booker Enterprises, is suing Sony Music Entertainment for $5 million.
The complaint alleges that Sony Music took improper and duplicate recoupments, which resulted in royalty under payments. It also alleges the major is playing Yankovic a straight royalty for downloads sales instead of the 50% of revenues that a licensing deal calls for. Additionally, it says Sony Music hasn't shared any money it received from lawsuit settlements from such cites as Napster, Kazaa and Grokster.
The lawsuit states that Sony Music received an equity stake in YouTube in exchange for providing the site with the company's content. At the time, Sony Music was given an equity stake; Yankovic "White & Nerdy" video was among the most popular content on the site. The suit says, "a portion of Sony's equity share in YouTube is directly apportionable and allocable to "White & Nerdy," as well as other content created by Yankovic.
The lawsuit was filed in Federal court in the Southern District of New York by the New York based firm Gordon, Gordon & Schnapp and the Nashville-based firm King & Ballow.
Richard Busch, a partner with the Nashville-based firm has successfully sued Universal Music Group for treating downloads as a sale instead of a license and now the major has to pay Eminem's former production company, F.B.T. Productions, 50% of net fees from download sales. He has since filed lawsuits on this point on behalf of Peter Frampton, Kenny Rogers and the estate of late Knack drummer Bruce Gary.
Sony Music could not be reached for comment at deadline.