EMI/Virgin Square Off Against 30 Seconds To Mars
August 18, 2008 at 2:06 PM (PT)
After VIRGIN RECORDS filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit against 30 SECONDS TO MARS in LOS ANGELES SUPERIOR COURT, seeking damages in excess of $30 million, band front man JARED LETO cam back swinging, calling the suit LETO, who referred to VIRGIN as the band's "former record company," called the suit "ridiculously overblown," "insane" and "totally unrealistic."
According to the suit, VIRGIN asserts LETO and his brother, SHANNON, failed to produce three of the five records the band agreed to deliver, according to its 1999 contract with the now-defunct IMMORTAL RECORDS. VIRGIN took over that contract in 2004, but the LETOS "repudiated" it, arguing that as of JULY 4th, 2008, they were "excused from" the deal because a CALIFORNIA label law mandates that a contract "may not be enforced against the employee beyond seven years from the commencement of service under it."
Naturally, that didn't wash for VIRGIN parent EMI, which issued a statement that their relationship with 30 SECONDS TO MARS "has been extremely rewarding and successful for both the band and the company ... the hard work of EMI's global team and of the band has resulted in sales of three million albums and singles, multiple awards and a growing, global fan base. However, we have been forced to take procedural, legal steps in order to protect EMI's investment and rights during contract renegotiations initiated by the band and management. We hope to resolve these matters amicably and put them behind us so we can continue working in partnership with the band to take them to even greater levels of success."
LETO responded on the band's website by asserting, "We had been signed to our record contract for nine years. Basically, under CALIFORNIA law, where we live and signed our deal, one cannot be bound to a contract for more than seven years. This is widely known by all the record companies and has been for years. In fact, so aware of it are they that they desperately try to make deals outside of CALIFORNIA whenever possible. It is a law that protects people from lengthy, unfair, career-spanning contracts. This law also gave us the legal right to explore other possible opportunities."
He also claimed that even after selling two million records, 30 SECONDS "hasn't been paid any royalties," yet the label believes that "We are still $1.4 million dollars in debt" and that "the next record we make will be used to pay off that old supposed debt."