Allman Brothers Sue Universal Over Digital Downloads

Seek $13 million

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The Allman Brothers Band has filed a lawsuit against Universal Music Group (UMG) for around $13 million over royalties from CDs and digital downloads.

The lawsuit seeks payment for some of the Southern rock group’s songs recorded for its first label Capricorn Records, from 1969 to 1980, when the band had such hits as "Melissa," "Ramblin’ Man," and "Midnight Rider."

The Allman Brothers Band

Band members Greg Allman, Jai Johanny "Jaimoe" Johanson, Butch Trucks and Dickey Betts are plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit, filed in Manhattan federal court, said UMG "refuses to pay Plaintiffs at the correct royalty rate for its digital exploitation of the Capricorn Masters," including CDs, digital downloads and ringtones.

The agreement goes back to a 1985 deal between the band and Polygram, which Universal bought, that said the band would be paid half of the profits from the sale of music by third parties such as Apple’s iTunes or any other commercial use the lawsuit said.

The suit says UMG paid only a small portion of what the band is owed, refused to renegotiate royalties for digital downloads and ringtones and had "wanton disregard" for obligations of the deal.

"UMG incurs practically no expenses or risks in connection with the Masters, particularly with respect to licensing other companies such as Apple to create and distribute digital downloads … yet UMG reaps millions of dollars every year from such exploitation," the lawsuit said.

Allman Brothers Sue Universal Over Digital Downloads
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