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Elvis Presley Enterprises suffers set back in long-running Sony legal battle

By | Published on Friday 4 March 2016


A New York court has refused to force Sony Music to reveal more information about the royalties it receives from exploiting the recordings of Elvis Presley.

As previously reported, Elvis Presley Enterprises went to court in December seeking access to Sony Music’s accounts as part of a long-running and multi-layered contract and royalties dispute in Germany, which has being going through the motions for years.

The legal battle covers lots of ground, but in amongst it all are some common gripes from legacy artists earning royalties off old recordings, including how the labels share digital income (ie by applying the lower ‘sales’ rate used on CDs, rather than the higher ‘licensing’ rate, even though the labels’ digital deals are licensing arrangements), and deductions that the majors make as income moves around the world.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the New York judge refused to force Sony to share more financial information with Elvis Presley Enterprises mainly on the basis that, if such figures were required for the German case, then the German courts could demand they be released.

The Presley company argued that ‘discovery’ rules were narrower in Europe, but that didn’t win any favour from the judge, who also noted that, since EPE filed its legal request in the US, some of its case in Germany has been dismissed.