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'Weird Al' Yankovic suing Sony Music for more than $5 million over digital royalties

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'Weird Al' Yankovic is suing Sony Music Entertainment for over $5 million, claiming he is owed the money through unpaid royalties and various incorrectly charged expenses.

weird al (shutterstock)
weird al (shutterstock)

'Weird Al' Yankovic has sued Sony Music Entertainment for the tune of over $5 million, claiming he is owed the money through unpaid royalties and a litany of incorrectly charged expenses. The lawsuit alleges that Sony has been paying the parody singer royalties for downloads at the regular rate for music sales rather than the higher-paying "license" rate which entitles the artist to 50 percent of revenues. Yankovic's company Ear Booker Enterprises cites a precedent set in 2010 when Universal Music was found guilty of underpaying Eminem in the same way, so it's likely that there's a case to be heard here.

Yankovic also believes that he's entitled to money from an agreement with YouTube — Sony was given stock in Google's video service in exchange for licensing out its content, and the singer claims that the popularity of his song White and Nerdy on the site should grant him a slice of the pie. Ear Booker says he should also get a portion of the money that Sony has received in settlements with filesharing services such as Kazaa and Audiogalaxy, and alleges that the company hasn't given an accounting of how much it was actually awarded. The lawsuit follows a lengthy auditing process carried out on Ear Booker's financials, and while the company is seeking damages to be determined at trial it believes it is owed in excess of $5 million.