Kenny Rogers is the latest artist to sue a record label for not paying a 50% royalty for music sold through downloads or as a ringtone.
In a suit filed in the U.S. District Court of Tennessee in Nashville, the complaint alleges that Capitol Records failed to pay Rogers for "masters licensed to third-party music download and mastertone providers." The suit also alleges that the label failed to pay Rogers any portion of monetary awards it has won in piracy lawsuits with companies like Napster, Kazaa, and Grokster. Finally, the lawsuit alleges that the label has consistently failed to properly and accurately account to and pay Rogers as set forth in the recording contract.
Rogers entered into a recording contract with Capitol predecessor United Artists in 1975, then entered into an agreement with Capitol in 1977.
The 1977 agreement states: "With respect to sales throughout the world of pre-recorded magnetic tapes and all other non-disc records, the royalty shall be one-half of company's net royalties from each source." Moreover, the suit states that the failure to pay appropriately for permanent downloads "is part of a conscious decision by Capitol Records and other in the music business to
Deprive artists of their proper royalties for the licensing of master recordings for sale by third-party download and mastertone companies. The wrongdoing of these labels was put to an end in the case of F.B.T. Prods, versus Aftermath Records."
The F.B.T. Lawsuit as well as the Rogers suit was filed by Richard S. Busch, from the Nashville law firm of King & Ballow.