Songwriters Settle Eagles Royalty Suit
Jackson Browne and fellow songwriters J.D. Souther and Jack Tempchin have settled a lawsuit with publisher Warner/Chappell Music over millions of dollars in royalties from the Eagles' "Their GreatestJackson Browne and fellow songwriters J.D. Souther and Jack Tempchin have settled a lawsuit with publisher Warner/Chappell Music over millions of dollars in royalties from the Eagles' "Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975)" package, which included several songs the three helped write.
The songwriters' lawyer Larry Iser said on Friday that an agreement resolving the dispute had been reached, but as is typical in such cases, details of the settlement were kept confidential. Lawyers for Warner could not immediately be reached for comment.
Browne, Souther, and Tempchin filed suit in February in Los Angeles Superior Court accusing Warner/Chappell, a unit of AOL Time Warner Inc., of underpaying them for such hits as "Take It Easy" and "Already Gone."
The three songwriters claimed that Warner Bros. Music, the predecessor to Warner/Chappell, licensed the songs to sister record label Elektra/Asylum/Nonesuch under a "sweetheart deal" for use on the Eagles' 1976 mega-selling greatest-hits collection.
Under that deal, the royalty paid to songwriters each time a song is played was set at fixed rate of 2.4 cents per song rather than under a formula that would allow it to rise with inflation over time, the suit said. As a result, the plaintiffs claimed lost royalties in excess of $10 million in more than 25 years since the album's release.
The album was the first ever certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America for U.S. shipments of 1 million copies and became one of the few LPs ever to cross the U.S. shipment threshold of 20 million copies.
The three plaintiffs earned songwriting credits on a total of four of the album's 10 tracks. Browne, who later became a major recording star in his own right, co-wrote the hit "Take It Easy" with the Eagles' Glenn Frey. Tempchin wrote "Peaceful Easy Feeling" and shared credits for "Already Gone." Souther collaborated with Frey and Don Henley on "Best of My Love."
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