Weird Al Yankovic Sues Sony for $5 Million
Parody singer “Weird Al” Yankovic has sued Sony Music Group, and seeks $5 million in damages in what he alleges to be unfair business dealings, according to CP.
The suit was filed by Yankovic’s Ear Booker Enterprises, and alleges that Sony has “incorrectly reported to Ear Booker the quantity of products sold, has incorrectly categorized those products, and has incorrectly paid Ear Booker for products for which it has accounted.” Yankovic claims that Sony double-charged Ear Booker for royalty advances, mistook marketing costs for production costs, making Ear Booking accountable for those expenses, failing to provide billing receipts, and various other unfair and dishonest business practices.
Sony has yet to respond to the suit, which was filed in he U.S. District Court in Manhattan on Friday. Ear Booker also claims that Sony owes $2.5 million for the sale of YouTube shares. Before Google bought Youtube in 2006 for $1.65 billion, Sony, Universal and Warner Music Group licensed some of their video content for streaming, in exchange for a portion of the ownership of the company. The record labels reportedly received about $50 million when YouTube was bought, and Ear Booker claims a portion of this, due to the popularity of Yankovic’s videos. Ear Booker has also gone after Sony’s settlement with Napster, Kazaa and Grokster, declaring that Yankovic deserves a portion of those judgements.
When I first came across this story, I wondered how song interpretations, like that of Michael Jackson’s “Bad,” called “Fat,” could be worth millions in royalties alone. Still, Yankovic’s “White and Nerdy” has almost 70 million plays on YouTube, which bolsters the legitimacy of the suit.