WMG Settles With Artists In Ringtone/Download Case
January 2, 2014 at 4:13 PM (PT)
WARNER MUSIC GROUP has agreed to pay $11.5 million to plaintiffs who filed a class action lawsuit over royalties for ringtones and digital downloads, THE WRAP reports. The money will settle past damages as well as increase the royalty rates of class members from here on out.
RONEE BLAKLEY, GARY WRIGHT and members of SISTER SLEDGE originally filed the suit, alleging WMG classified digital download and ringtone transactions as sales instead of licenses, which enabled the company to pay royalties at a much lower rate.
The ruling follows the precedent set by EMINEM's 2010 lawsuit against UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP, where the U.S. 9th CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS RULED that his contract with iTUNES clearly stipulated downloads were licenses.
Nevertheless, WMG said in the settlement filing it believes there is no precedent that would support the plaintiff’s case and that it would rather placate the plaintiffs than enter into potentially years of litigation.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs are scheduled to appear in court on JAN. 24th to present their motion to settle; WARNER MUSIC GROUP will appear on FEB. 6th.