New Order has issued a statement following news that their former bassist Peter Hook is suing his ex-band mates over unpaid royalties. “Obviously the band are disappointed that Peter is pursuing this claim in this particular way,” the Music Complete group said after the lawsuit began proceedings in a London high court last week.
“The reports so far take a number of things out of context. Peter still, for instance, receives his full share of all back catalogue royalties. This dispute relates only to the share of income he takes from our work without him since 2011,” New Order clarified of the lawsuit. “Not much more we can say as nothing has been decided by the Court on the facts other than he has a right to proceed with the claim, so this matter is still in play.”
The band added, “We’re getting on with life and concentrating on touring and promoting our new album.”
Hook’s suit against his former band mates – specifically guitarist Bernard Sumner, drummer Stephen Morris and keyboardist Gillian Gilbert –alleges that the band “clandestinely” formed a new company to control the New Order trademark. Hook initially owned a 25 percent stake in Vitalturn Ltd., a company the group jointly owned since the early Nineties. After New Order reformed in 2011 without Hook, the lawsuit claims that the remaining members transferred the band’s assets and trademark to a new company – New Order Limited – with a five percent royalty going toward Vitalturn Ltd., of which Hook receives 1.25 percent.
As Hook’s lawyer Mark Wyeth told the court, “It was as though George Harrison and Ringo Starr had got together at George’s house one Friday night and had acted together to divest Paul McCartney of his shareholding in the Beatles, and didn’t tell Yoko about it either.”
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New Order’s lawyer David Casement argued that the band’s formation of a new company was “completely reasonable” and that Hook’s lawsuit was “completely misconceived.” The band has earned approximately $11.75 million in the past four years, and the amount of that owed to Hook is what the lawsuit boils down to.
In a statement exclusive to Rolling Stone, Hook said, “I’m naturally delighted with the decision made on my application to the High Court in London last week. It found in my favor and justifies the stance I have taken. The Judge made a number of important points when giving his judgment and rejected a lot of the Defendants’ submissions. Both sides’ costs in this case are very substantial. I was obviously pleased that the Judge ordered the Defendants to pay mine. I’m very happy with the outcome and it bodes well for the future. I am grateful to my legal team for the hard work which went into achieving this judgment.”