Your Black World Reports
Hip Hop icon Chuck D has filed a $100 million dollar class action lawsuit against the Universal Music Group. The suit alleges that the company has bilked its artists of millions with faulty digital licensing.
Chuck D (whose real name is Carlton Douglas Ridenhour) filed the suit in US District Court in Northern California this week. He argues that artists and producers are entitled to 50 percent of the net receipts from digital downloads and ringtones.
The suit alleges that the company has treated these sales as sales of physical product. This gives a much lower royalty rate to the artist, and also charges the artist for things like packaging and containers, which don’t even exist for digital content.
Under the current system, artists receive $80.33 for every 1,000 downloads. The suit argues that the number should be $315.85 per 1,000. For ringtones, artists currently receive $49.89 per 1,000, but the plaintiffs argue that it should be $660 per 1,000.
The estate of Rick James has also filed suit against UMG, making claims similar to those of Chuck D.