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Incubus Sue Sony

Band files lawsuit to end recording contract

February 7, 2003 12:00 AM ET

Incubus filed a lawsuit against Sony -- the parent company of the band's label, Epic Records, on February 6th in Los Angeles Superior Court. The band -- Brandon Boyd, Michael Einziger, Jose Pasillas and Alex Katunich -- maintain that they have met all obligations in its contract with Sony, which reaches it seven-year anniversary this summer, and are seeking to get out of it.

"Under current standard industry practices, Sony Music has been handsomely rewarded financially during this period while the members of Incubus have received very little compensation from their creative and professional efforts," the band's manager, Steve Rennie, said. "The core question is whether Incubus is entitled to share fairly in the fruits of their labor going forward."

Incubus, whose third album for Sony, Morning View, was released in 2001, are expected to deliver four more albums to the label under the terms of that contract. However, the band is challenging a California law that allows record labels to engage in contracts with artists longer than seven years. The law is a 1987 amendment to the state's "Seven Year Statute," which prohibits companies from striking personal service contracts with employees for more than seven years.

That law has been the subject of several music industry lawsuits. Most recently Courtney Love sued her former label, Universal Records, on the same grounds. The case was eventually settled for an undisclosed amount. The law has also been the subject of California State Senate hearings over the past few years, with musicians including Love, LeAnn Rimes, Don Henley and the Dixie Chicks speaking out against it.

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