Sony Music Responds to Brad Paisley's $10 Million Royalties Suit

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Brad Paisley performs during the 2013 CMA Awards in Nashville, TN

Sony Music has responded in kind to new filings from Brad Paisley's long-running royalty lawsuit against the label. The company filed a brief in opposition to Paisley's recent motion to allow additions to his complaint against the company, filed nearly four years ago in New York Supreme Court.

In April, Paisley and his legal team put forth a motion to amend their initial complaint -- filed in 2010 -- with a new lawyer in tow, Richard Busch of Nashville firm King & Ballow. In the new filing, Paisley alleged the losses were attributable to Sony Music's misreporting and errors and total some $10 million. The hiring of Busch, whose specialty is digital royalties, would seem to augur a new emphasis on streaming and download revenues in the case.

But if Sony Music's new brief, filed yesterday, is successful in blocking the motion, the case may never get that far.

At the outset of the new document, Sony Music claims that the filing of Paisley's new motion is a tactic aimed at drawing press to the case (a tactic which succeeded). "This motion is being used as a publicity stunt to revive an otherwise moribund case," Sony Music writes, saying later that the "Plaintiff’s tabloid tactic is apparently an attempt to steer this case away from the objective facts. He is taking the wrong approach."

In that April filing from Paisley and his reps, the star requests that the Judge grant them an injunction compelling Sony Music to provide Paisley with the documents he claims they have failed to provide over the last several years. "Paisley seeks an Order from this Court demanding that Sony comply with its obligations under the Recording Agreement, [and] provide Paisley... with the information and documents requested," Paisley's lawyer wrote.


Sony Music has responded to that claim vigourously, writing that Paisley's team has been unresponsive and unpunctual in its responses to the various document releases Sony Music has provided since the beginning of the case.

"In total, Sony Music has produced approximately 40,000 pages of documentation... Plaintiff's continuous rant throughout his proposed Amended Complaint that he has been denied access to information is objectively false," Sony Music says. Earlier, Sony accuses Paisley's team of dragging its feet: "Plaintiff’s counsel have been silent or lethargic and squandered multiple opportunities to advance the case."

Sony Music goes on in the brief to cite various precedents that would convince the Judge to disallow Paisley's additions from being added to the record, as well as dismissing Paisley's request for an injunction. "Plaintiff’s own allegations prove he has an adequate remedy at law and has suffered no irreparable harm -- each a legal requirement for an injunction. Moreover, the proposed Amended Complaint lacks any factual detail necessary to support an injunction."

If Sony Music's response is successful, the result could be to drastically limit the proposed scope of the case and make an out-of-court settlement -- the typical end to artists' royalty cases against major labels -- more and more likely.


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