Modern rock outfit Incubus has filed a lawsuit against Sony Corp. in an attempt to break free from its contract that requires the group to make four more albums with the company's Epic Records label.

Modern rock outfit Incubus has filed a lawsuit against Sony Corp. in an attempt to break free from its contract that requires the group to make four more albums with the company's Epic Records label. Band members Michael Einziger, Brandon Boyd, Jose Pasillas, and Alex Katunich filed the suit yesterday (Feb. 6) in Los Angeles Superior Court. The band is asking a judge to rule that California's labor law allows them to stop recording for Sony and get a new deal from another label.

Incubus, whose most recent album, "Morning View," debuted in November 2001 at No. 2 on The Billboard 200, objects to Sony's common practice of deducting such costs as video production and packaging from the artists' cut, said band manager Steve Rennie.

"Under current standard industry practices, Sony Music has been handsomely rewarded financially during this period while the members of Incubus have received very little compensation from their creative and professional efforts," Rennie said. The core question, he added, is whether Incubus "is entitled to share fairly in the fruits of their labor going forward."

"We have the highest regard for Incubus and their music and take great pride in the work we have done together to build a worldwide audience for them," Sony responded in a statement. "Incubus is signed to an exclusive recording contract with Sony Music."

The band wants the judge to exercise the state's so-called "seven-year statute," which states that most entertainers cannot be tied to any company for more than seven years. Incubus believes it has met all of its obligations, even though its contract with Sony says it must make four more albums. The band reaches its seven-year anniversary with Sony this summer.

According to Incubus' official Web site, the band is "writing and working together on new music, but no set plans for entering the studio are solidified just yet."

Incubus joins a growing list of acts such as Don Henley, Beck, Courtney Love, and the Dixie Chicks who have demanded the freedom to negotiate less restrictive deals to capitalize on their success. In many of the cases to date, settlements have been reached between the artists and record companies.


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