Elvis Estate Sues Arista Over Digital Royalties

Lawsuit claims German label exploited a loophole

September 2, 2011 8:40 AM ET
elvis estate
Elvis Presley
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Elvis Presley's estate has drafted a litigation-finance firm to sue Arista Music in Germany for unpaid royalties on the late singer's music from digital sales, including ringtones, mp3 downloads and apps featuring his songs. The lawsuit alleges that Arista, formerly RCA Records, has exploited a 1973 buyout agreement that left Presley with only a small portion of the revenue from his recordings.

Photos: Young Elvis Presley
If the estate wins or settles out of court, the Calunius Capital firm will share in the proceeds, which could be around 20 to 35 percent of the recovered funds. Presley's estate hired Calunius Capital mainly because the cost of bringing suit in Germany is exceptionally high, and the group has extensive experience with complicated suits in that country.

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