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Richard Carpenter sues for nonpayment of royalties

Texans who are fans of The Carpenters might be interested in learning that Richard Carpenter has filed a lawsuit against Universal Music alleging that he and his sister's estate are owed unpaid digital royalties from the label. The lawsuit was filed on Jan. 11 in Los Angeles.

According to the complaint, accountants hired by The Carpenters found numerous errors. When Richard Carpenter requested that he and Karen Carpenter's estate be paid the royalties that he alleges are owed, the label reportedly refused. He is seeking at least $2 million in compensatory damages.

Carpenter alleges that digital downloads were incorrectly classified as record sales rather than as licensing revenue, which pays higher royalties. He also alleges that the label counted fewer downloads than what occurred and used the wrong base price for sales of CDs. The lawsuit also points out the similarities between it and one filed by Eminem. In that case, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit found that digital downloads are licensing revenue and not record sales.

Contract disputes may arise in the course of business. When they do, lawsuits might be necessary if the contract breaches are major ones. A major contract breach is one that destroys the heart of the agreement, meaning that it makes it impossible for the parties to perform their obligations. In such a case, an attorney may try to negotiate a settlement with the other party in order to secure payment of the royalties. If the party refused, the attorney might choose to litigate the matter. Many cases settle before they reach a jury trial. In other cases, attorneys are unable to reach settlements and advocate for their clients to try to reach successful resolutions.

Source: Variety, "The Carpenters sue Universal Music over digital royalties," Ted Johnson, Jan. 11, 2017

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