Public Enemy front-man Carlton Douglas Ridenhour, AKA Chuck D, files class-action lawsuit against UMG over ringtones.
Public Enemy frontman, Carlton Douglas Ridenhour, popularly known as Chuck D, filed a class-action lawsuit against UMG, Universal Music Group in U.S. District Court in Northern California on Tuesday, alleging that the music giant has short-changed its artists and producers in licensing deals for digital downloads and ringtones.
According to Reuters, the suit alleges that Universal owes its artists “hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties” because of the discrepancies. The suit also alleges Universal’s artists and producers are entitled to 50 percent of the net receipts from digital downloads and ringtones. However, the company has treated such transactions like sales of physical product, the lawsuit alleged. In other words, the suit alleges that not only is there a much lower royalty rate involved, but the company makes deductions for things like containers and packaging, which don’t pose an issue for digital downloads or ringtones.
Chuck D claims that under UMG’s current method of accounting, artists and producers receive $80.33 for every 1,000 downloads, when the correct amount should be $315.85 per 1,000.