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Chuck D FIles Lawsuit Against Universal Music Group

Public Enemy rapper claims label underpaid royalties on digital downloads

November 2, 2011 6:00 PM ET
chuck d
Chuck D of Public Enemy performs at Bestival in the United Kingdom
Samir Hussein/Getty Images

Public Enemy frontman Chuck D has filed a lawsuit against Universal Music Group claiming that the company has underpaid his royalties on digital downloads. The suit alleges that UMG routinely misrelates royalties owed to artists on MP3s and ringtones by treating them as sales of physical record as opposed to licensed works.

Photos: Random Notes

This distinction between sales and licenses was the crux of a recent legal victory on behalf of Eminem, which set a legal precedent in favor of digital downloads as licenses. Chuck D's complaint follows a federal judge's decision on Tuesday to move forward on a similar class action pursued by Rob Zombie and the estate of Rick James.

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