Musician files class action against Warner Music for improper accounting of royalties

Posted on: March 14th, 2012 by Steve Larson

Gary Wright has filed a nationwide class action for breach of contract and statutory violations of California law against Warner and its divisions.  Mr. Wright alleges that Warner cheats musical artists of royalties for downloads and ringtones.

The Plaintiff alleges that Warner has failed to properly account to him and class members for royalties stemming from the licensing of their musical performances or recordings that were utilized by “Music Download Providers,” “Music Streaming Providers,” and “Ringtone Providers” for digital download, streaming and distribution.  He asserts that Warner has failed to properly pay royalties to its artists for electronic transmission of their works, and hence, he seeks monetary damages, injunctive, and declaratory relief against Warner for its willful violation of contracts between itself and recording artists and music producers through which Warner obtained recording artists’ and producers’ master recordings in exchange for the payment of certain royalties to these artists and producers.

Mr. Wright is a musican, recording artist, and performing artist, and a resident of Palos Verdes Estates, California.  Beginning in 1974, he embarked on a solo career, and in 1976, he released his album The Dream Weaver, which has been certified as multi-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.  He continued to make albums throughout the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.

Warner is a Delaware corporatioin and does extensive business in the state of California, where its recorded music business offices are located.  Mr. Wright alleges that Warner was and continues to be in the business of exploiting the sound recordings of musical performances and the audio-visual recordings of such performances.  Warner’s exploitation includes producing, manufacturing, distributing, licensing, and selling these recordings.