Cumulus, CBS, iHeartMedia Sued By ABS Entertainment Over Pre-1972 Music Royalties
August 18, 2015 at 5:44 PM (PT)
ABS ENTERTAINMENT, INC., owners of recordings including the HI RECORDS catalog (AL GREEN, WILLIE MITCHELL, ANN PEEBLES, etc.) is suing CUMULUS MEDIA, iHEARTMEDIA, and CBS CORPORATION over pre-1972 music royalties. The suits allege infringement of ownership rights, misappropriation of ownership and property rights, and conversion, calling the conduct "despicable"; the plaintiffs are seeking over $5 million compensatory damages on each of three counts and "restitution and disgorgement" of unlawful proceeds and revenues, including gross profits, plus punitive and exemplary damages and an injunction against using pre-1972 music.
The suits, filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of CALIFORNIA and using the TURTLES' case in that circuit as precedent, seek class action status for "injunctive relief and monetary damages sustained by Plaintiff and the Class because the Defendants have delivered music content through broadcast radio channels, HD radio channels, the Internet and mobile devices without consent of or licenses from the Plaintiff and the Class. As a result of their pernicious, improper and illegal conduct, Defendants have reaped hundreds of millions of dollars that rightfully belong to Plaintiff and the Class." The suits note that the defendants have not obtained performance rights licenses or paid royalties for pre-FEBRUARY 15, 1972 music.
The suits were filed by LOS ANGELES law firm MCKOOL SMITH HENNIGAN, PC and CHICAGO-based MILLER LAW LLC.