Chuck D Sues UMG Over Digital Royalties

Law360, New York (November 2, 2011, 5:22 PM EDT) -- Chuck D of the hip-hop group Public Enemy hit UMG Recordings Inc. with a putative breach of contract class action in California on Wednesday, accusing the music publisher of routinely shortchanging artists on royalties for digital downloads of their music.

The suit says that UMG miscalculates the royalties owed to artists for digital downloads like MP3 files and ringtones by treating the downloads as “sales” of physical records rather than “licenses.”

UMG's standard contracts with artists calculate lower royalties for album sales as opposed to licenses,...
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