Universal Music Group Files Motion To Dismiss Class Action Lawsuit Launched By SOUNDGARDEN, HOLE, TOM PETTY And Others Over Recordings Lost In Fire
July 18, 2019, a month ago
BBC News recently reported that several prominent musicians are suing the world's largest record label, Universal Music, after learning their music may have been lost in a fire.
The case, which seeks damages in excess of $100m (£78m), was filed by the estates of Tom Petty and Tupac Shakur, the bands Hole and Soundgarden, and singer-songwriter Steve Earle. They are seeking class action status, which means other affected artists will be able to join the legal action. Universal Music has yet to respond.
It is the first case to emerge since a New York Times investigation alleged that hundreds of thousands of master recordings, protection copies, unreleased music and other materials had burned in a massive warehouse fire in 2008.
Among the hundreds of artists said to have lost music were Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Sir Elton John, Janet Jackson, Nirvana, Eminem and Guns N' Roses.
The legal papers, filed by three law firms in Los Angeles, accuse Universal Music of negligence by housing the recordings in "a known fire trap", as well as concealing the extent of the destruction from artists.
Read more at BBC News.
Rolling Stone is now reporting that Universal has filed a motion to dismiss a class action lawsuit.
In its motion to dismiss, UMG, which is being represented by the law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, claimed that they have full ownership over any master tapes that were allegedly lost in the fire and denied they have any obligation to split the insurance and settlement proceeds with the artists. The label also argued that, because they are the sole owners of those masters, they did not violate any good faith term in their contracts with artists to keep those recordings safe for the mutual benefit of musician and label. UMG also argues that breach of contract claims have exceeded the time limit in regards to statute of limitations for filing such claims.
Of those artists affected, attorney Howard King says UMG only provided information regarding the status of recordings belonging to one, Hole. King says UMG claimed that no Hole recordings were destroyed in the 2008 fire, but when he and the band asked for proof in the form of documents that would’ve been filed when UMG was pursuing litigation and insurance claims, the label declined to hand them over.
Read the complete Rolling Stone report here.