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Dr Luke says it’s Kesha who owes him royalties, claims $1.3 million due

By | Published on Wednesday 8 February 2017

Dr Luke

In the latest shot fired in the ongoing legal battle between Kesha and producer Dr Luke, the latter has responded to recent allegations from the former that she is owed a bunch of royalties by claiming that it is, in fact, he who is owed money under one of the various contracts between the two former collaborators.

As much previously reported, Kesha Sebert and Lukasz Gottwald have been embroiled in a complicated and multi-layered legal dispute for some time now. At the heart of the case are Sebert’s allegations that Gottwald subjected her to abuse, including rape, while he says that she made up those claims in a bid to force his hand in a contract dispute.

Both sides in the legal battle sought to expand their formal complaints last week, and among Sebert’s new allegations were claims that Gottwald has been withholding royalties she is due from her recordings. Sebert has contracts with various Gottwald-led businesses, while her music is released by his label venture with Sony Music, Kemosabe Records.

In their latest filing, Sebert’s attorneys wrote last week that: “It was not until Kesha’s counsel recently threatened further legal action that Dr Luke released certain funds owed to Kesha in December 2016, two years after they were due. Still, he has not paid her all of the amounts owed”.

The court submission also alleged that: “Dr Luke has similarly worked to deprive Kesha of royalties from ‘Timber’, the multi-million unit hit that she recorded and co-wrote with Pitbull. Until the issue was raised with the court, Kesha had received none of the recording royalties or publishing royalties on ‘Timber’ she was owed”.

Not so, responds a counter claim by Gottwald’s legal team. The producer’s companies are up to date on paying Sebert her royalties, they say. Meanwhile, they allege, the singer owes their client over $1.3 million because his deals with Sebert provide him with a cut of her endorsement and live income.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Gottwald’s lawyers wrote in a submission to the court on Monday: “Plaintiffs have paid Kesha her royalties for all relevant accounting periods, while Kesha baselessly refuses to pay plaintiffs the much larger sums she owes them. In December 2016 alone, defendant received payments under her contracts with plaintiffs in excess of $650,000. In sharp contrast, defendant admits that she owes plaintiff KMI over $1.3 million in ancillary royalties that she has failed to pay”.

In addition to providing figures for the monies allegedly paid to and owed by Sebert, Gottwald’s legal team have also provided the court with the singer’s agreement with the producer’s Kasz Money company, which outlines his cuts on her income beyond recordings. It says that Gottwald gets 10% of net receipts from the commercial exploitation of Sebert’s name and likeness, and 10% of net or 5% of gross tour receipts, whichever is higher. All of which provides the $1.3 million figure.

Gottwald’s latest legal filing disputes other allegations made in the papers submitted by Sebert’s attorneys last week. It also returns to a common complaint made by the producer’s lawyers, that the other side in this dispute is fighting the battle as much in the press as the courts, to garner their client public sympathy and further tarnish Gottwald’s reputation in the music industry.

The new court filing says that the most recent claims from Sebert’s reps were “yet another example of Kesha and her counsel’s attempt to litigate her dispute with plaintiffs in the press. It was obviously designed to garner sympathetic headlines for defendant, and further tarnish plaintiffs, based upon false assertions and blatant mischaracterisations”.