The web is awash with ‘It’s Rick James, Bitch!’ headlines, after the late musician’s estate filed a proposed class action lawsuit against Universal Music Group, over what it claims are unpaid digital downloads and ringtone sales. As with previous cases of this kind, the focus is on whether digital sales should be treated as licensing income. The lawsuit claims that UMG “continues to employ a host of unfair tactics and strategies in its dealings with royalty participants to minimise its exposure from the unlawful conduct at issue here”, but UMG has hit back. In a statement, the label says that “The complaint filed by the Estate of Rick James suffers from many infirmities, not the least of which is that the claims asserted are not appropriate for class treatment. We intend to vigorously defend against it.” The new lawsuit follows last month’s decision by the US Supreme Court not to review an earlier ruling in favour of Eminem’s former production partner FBT. Source: The Hollywood Reporter

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