On Tuesday, Nov. 1, Public Enemy's Chuck D filed a class-action lawsuit against Universal Music Group, which owns five PE albums, over unpaid royalties amounting to $100 million.
The suit argues that the company routinely blurs the amounts that artists are owed by treating sales of MP3s and ringtones as physical records rather than licensed works. Rolling Stone reported that Eminem won a similar legal battle against Universal "which set a legal precedent in favor of digital downloads as licenses."
Chuck, born Carlton Douglas Ridenhour, says that UMG pays artists $80.33 for every 1,000 downloads when it ought to be $315.80 for every 1,000. Reuters reports that the ringtone argument is even wider, with Chuck alleging that Universal pays "$49.89 per thousand downloads, as opposed to the $660 per 1,000 that the suit claims is actually owed." The Public Enemy frontman is now joined in the class action suit by Rob Zombie and the estate of Rick James. [RealTalkNY / The Guardian]