Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Dr. Dre to Suge Knight: Puff, Puff, Pass my Chronic Rights

(swiped from Pitchfork Media)

Dr. Dre has brought a lawsuit against his former label Death Row Records (which is now defunct) over the rights to his 1992 classic album The Chronic. According to an AP report, he filed the suit with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Los Angeles on Wednesday, August 15, and the report lays it out to be a pretty complicated case.
Here's the rough chronology behind the suit:

Fall of 1992: Dr. Dre grants Death Row a license to distribute The Chronic in exchange for royalties.

March 1996: Dre gives up his 50 percent ownership interest in Death Row and agrees to give Death Row The Chronic's copyrights as long as he continues to receive royalties.

2000: After Death Row has failed to pay royalties, Dre notifies the label that he is overturning their agreement and demanding The Chronic's copyrights back.

Present day: Dre's current suit asserts that he upheld his parts of the original deals and that Death Row and the Chapter 11 trustee in charge of the label's bankruptcy case are violating his rights as the owner of the copyrights by continuing to distribute the album without his permission.

So Dre wants the album's copyrights back, and he's asking the court to officially overturn the 1992 and 1996 agreements so that he can get them. He also wants Death Row and the bankruptcy trustee to pay him restitution for the revenue the label received from using the copyrights.

But why is this all coming to light now? Apparently, the new suit reflects Dre's belief that the trustee has solicited bids for the copyrights in the past month and plans to sell them. To take care of that concern in the meantime, he has asked the court to issue a permanent injunction to bar the sale of the copyrights without his written permission.

So it might become pretty hard to find a copy of The Chronic at your local record shop very, very soon.

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