Jackson Sues Universal Over Motown Royalties
Michael Jackson has filed suit against Motown Records and parent Universal Music Group (UMG) in an attempt to obtain rights to all masters of material he recorded for the label from 1969-76. The artisMichael Jackson has filed suit against Motown Records and parent Universal Music Group (UMG) in an attempt to obtain rights to all masters of material he recorded for the label from 1969-76, Billboard Bulletin reports.
The 10-count suit, filed Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court, claims that under a 1980 agreement, Motown agreed to pay royalties to Jackson on the distribution of select pre-1976 material, including solo and Jackson 5 recordings, as well as any "best-ofs" or compilations of unreleased tracks.
Jackson says UMG has since released such albums and licensed songs commercially without his consent. He claims the label failed to provide him "with a single accounting" and has not paid him "a single dollar in royalties."
The artist is seeking to terminate the 1980 contract and all other recording agreements with Motown, and seeks to reclaim "his right, title and interest in" all of his master recordings and compositions with the label. A UMG spokesperson declined comment.
The new suit comes almost a year after Jackson attacked his current label, Sony, and its then-CEO, Tommy Mottola, for what he described as racist business practices. Jackson has been in and out of court in the past few months, having been sued by a promoter for backing out of a millennium concert as well as by auction house Sotheby's for failure to pay for two paintings.