On Monday, Mobb Deep MC Prodigy filed a lawsuit against Universal Music Publishing Group alleging that the company has been collecting licensing and royalty fees for his solo work on third party albums for nearly two decades without his permission. The lawsuit, brought in federal district court in New York, is seeking, at minimum, thousands of dollars in compensation and damages for copyright infringement, unjust enrichment, conversion, declaratory judgment and relief. But as always with publishing deals, things get confusing very quickly, so let's break this suit down.
According to the complaint, in Feb. 1995, Havoc and Prodigy signed a publishing deal with BMG Music Publishing as Mobb Deep ahead of the release of their influential sophomore album The Infamous, in which BMG would collect licensing and royalties for the group and take 50 percent of the earnings. In Dec. 1998, Prodigy, Havoc and BMG agreed to an amendment to the original contract that would provide for solo albums from either of the artists outside of Mobb Deep. Prodigy launched his solo career in 2000 with H.N.I.C., which came out on Relativity Records, the first of his four solo LPs to date.