The High Court in London today referred to an adjudicator the Rolling Stones' royalties dispute with Decca Music Group.

The High Court in London today referred to an adjudicator the Rolling Stones' royalties dispute with Decca Music Group.

Mr. Justice Pumfrey ruled that, under the terms of a 1976 agreement made between members of the band and Decca, disputes over royalties should be referred to arbitration, and not dealt with in the courts. Arbitration could lead to an audit of Decca.

"There is no reason why I should not give effect to the clear choice of an arbitral tribunal by the parties to this agreement. These proceedings must be stayed," Pumfrey told the court.

The dispute centers on royalties from the 2002 greatest-hits compilation "40 Licks" (Virgin) which included tracks such as "Paint It Black" and "Sympathy for the Devil", the rights to which are still owned by Decca. The band recorded for Decca from 1963-1970.

The band members maintained they were entitled to 80% of the royalties from the Decca tracks on the album, a claim which could run into millions of pounds. They had sought the High Court to order an audit of Decca to reveal how much they should be paid.

A Decca spokesperson declined to comment.

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