The dispute between rock band Incubus and recording label Sony Corp. has gotten increasingly nastier, with Sony filing a lawsuit to force the band to make four more albums.

The dispute between rock band Incubus and recording label Sony Corp. has gotten increasingly nastier, with Sony filing a lawsuit to force the band to make four more albums. In the suit, filed Tuesday in New York, Sony claims it won the rights to the band's first seven albums under an exclusive 1996 contract. Three Incubus albums have already been released, the most recent of which, "Morning View," debuted in November 2001 at No. 2 on The Billboard 200.

Sony asked a federal judge in Manhattan to force the band to abide by the terms of the contract. Otherwise, the label estimates it could lose tens of millions of dollars.

Last week, Incubus sued Sony in Los Angeles Superior Court, claiming entertainers can't be tied to a company for more than seven years under California's labor law. The suit is one of many that have pitted musicians against their recording labels, with performers claiming they aren't fairly compensated when they sign long-term contracts. Labels, on the other hand, contend such contracts are necessary, because they must spend a fortune to ensure musicians' success.

Incubus band members Michael Einziger, Brandon Boyd, Jose Pasillas, and Alex Katunich say in their lawsuit that they should be free to negotiate a contract with a competing record label in July 2003. But Sony contends the claim is merely "a negotiation ploy designed to increase their bargaining power against Sony." In its suit, the label asks the court to stop Incubus from pursuing the case in California. Sony's suit also seeks attorney's fees and other unspecified relief.

As previously reported, Incubus is among the bands that will headline the revived Lollapalooza festival, which will return to the road this summer.


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