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Brad Paisley sues Sony for breach of contract

By | Published on Wednesday 30 April 2014

Brad Paisley

Country singer Brad Paisley has submitted new legal papers in an ongoing royalty dispute with Sony Music, in which he claims that the major label has underpaid him by over $10 million.

Paisley originally sued in 2010, claiming that underpayments dated back to September 2002, when he first renewed his original 1997 contract with Sony. However, the following year a judge dismissed the case, saying that a “tolling agreement” added to a 2006 renewal of the deal meant that by 2011 Paisley had missed his window of opportunity to dispute payments as far back as 2002, and could only raise objections on royalties from January 2006.

However, Paisley’s legal team argues that the musician had only signed up to the tolling agreement on the promise that Sony would release the documents they needed in order to audit payments, which the major then did not provide.

According to RadarOnline, a new lawsuit filed in March states: “The primary reason that Paisley is commencing this action is because Sony continuously has refused Paisley access to a variety of information and applied incorrect royalty rates, prices, and reductions, pursuant to the recording agreement, resulting in Sony’s significantly underpaying Paisley”.

The papers state that an audit conducted in 2006 had uncovered the underpayments on 2002-2005 royalties, but an exact figure could not be ascertained because Sony did not provide complete records. Attempts to resolve this, it is alleged, were unsuccessful on this and subsequent audits, and underpayments continued, with a claim that “Sony has continually failed to discharge its contractual duty to Paisley”.

The musician is now suing for breach of contract and seeking an injunction forcing Sony to release the documents he claims it has been withholding. He also demands damages to cover the money he says he is owed, plus interest.

Read the lawsuit in full here.