from the but-that's-how-the-labels-work... dept
The latest news is that a judge has completely slammed Universal's latest attempt to hide money from FBT, after it came out that Universal had inserted what appeared to be a minor definitional piece into a summary judgment action earlier in the case, which it's now using to claim that FBT should only get a cut of 29% of revenue, rather than 100% or revenue. The details are a bit technical, but as THResq explains:
Last autumn, Universal brought a motion for summary judgment on the phrase "our net receipts" in the agreement in question. In response, the judge ruled that "our" referred to Aftermath. So Universal says the judge's ruling means FBT has to live with what Aftermath gets (29 percent) instead of what Universal gets (100 percent).However, Universal also has some sort of tricky accounting going on for foreign receipts, in which Aftermath only gets 29% -- so now it's arguing that it only has to pay out the 50% on that 29%, rather than on the full 100%. The judge reasonably went ballistic at this obvious attempt to trick the court and FBT, and to effectively sneak through the provision defining "our net receipts" earlier:
"Furthermore, the Court is deeply troubled by Defendants’ argument. While it is hard to see what FBT could gain by feigning ignorance, it is now quite apparent what Defendants could hope to gain by bamboozling the Court and Plaintiffs on this issue. Defendants’ current stance makes it appear as though Defendants carefully inserted the issue into the motion for summary judgment before they had notified FBT or the Court of what percentage of the revenues from foreign sales of permanent downloads and mastertones would be paid to FBT. An attempt to dupe the Court into a premature ruling will not serve as the basis to deny FBT an opportunity to challenge Defendants’ accounting practices."This does not bode well for Universal in this case, however it is yet another example of the tricky math that the RIAA labels like to use in screwing over artists. It's good to see more and more of this coming out in public, though it's really quite amazing the lengths that these labels (mainly the majors) will go to in order to keep money from artists, using all sorts of suspicious accounting and legal tricks. The deceptiveness here is clearly planned out, and they seem almost proud of how clever they are in screwing over artists. It's stunning. In an era where more and more artists are realizing that having a label is now an option not a requirement, publicly trying to screw them over on royalties is not exactly a path to success.