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Sony responds to Brad Paisley’s latest royalty dispute manoeuvre

By | Published on Friday 16 May 2014

Brad Paisley

Sony Music has responded to the most recent filing in a long-running royalties dispute between the major and country star Brad Paisley, arguing that the singer’s latest litigation was mainly designed to generate press interest in the case. Which, if true, means it was a success.

As previously reported, a judge previously restrained Paisley’s ability to sue for allegedly unpaid royalties as far back as 2002, stating that a 2006 agreement between the singer and the label meant that by 2011 – when this particular dispute first reached court – the country man had missed a window of opportunity to make any claims regarding payments that may or may not have been made prior to the 2006 arrangement.

In his most recent lawsuit Paisley’s lawyers argue that the 2006 agreement was conditional on Sony Music sharing a big bunch of paperwork about their client’s royalties, and that the major had failed to do so, making commitments made by the singer in that contract now void. The new lawsuit also made reference to download income, suggesting that Paisley plans to morph this dispute into one over digital royalties, the most fashionable of all the royalty gripes open to veteran artists in 2014.

But according to Billboard, in a legal filing this week, Sony Music denies it failed to provide documentation to Paisley, countering that it was his people who were decidedly slack when it came to auditing his earnings and royalties to date. “In total, Sony Music has produced approximately 40,000 pages of documentation” the filing states, adding that Team Paisley “have been silent or lethargic and squandered multiple opportunities to advance the case”. The allegation that Sony had refused to provide paperwork in line with its 2006 agreement with Paisley was “objectively false”, it concluded.

And as for Paisley’s motivation for filing his most recent legal claim against the major: “This motion is being used as a publicity stunt to revive an otherwise moribund case … [the] plaintiff’s tabloid tactic is apparently an attempt to steer this case away from the objective facts. He is taking the wrong approach”.

The wrong approach maybe, but quite a fun one. Let the squabbling continue.