'Weird Al' Yankovic Sues Sony Over Royalties

Parodist is seeking 50 percent of net receipts from digital downloads

April 2, 2012 9:10 AM ET
'Weird Al' Yankovic
'Weird Al' Yankovic sues Sony over royalties.
Alyse Gilbert/Young Hollywood/Getty Images

"Weird Al" Yankovic is suing Sony Music Entertainment for $5 million over royalty disputes, Billboard reports. The music parodist alleges that Sony took improper and duplicate recoupments resulting in underpayment of his royalties, has not paid him his fair share of revenue from his YouTube hits and the label has not shared money from settlements with Napster and Kazaa. Yankovic is also seeking a 50 percent cut of net receipts from digital downloads of his music, as his deal classifies that as a license rather than a traditional sale, which has a much lower royalty rate.

Yankovic's company, Ear Booker Enterprises, filed the lawsuit in Federal court in the Southern District of New York. The musician's suit is likely to hold up in court, as a case last year on behalf of Eminem established a legal precedent that downloads count as a license, meaning that many artists signed to major labels before the early 2000s are entitled to 50 percent of net receipts on those sales. 

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