The output of the music industry is adored by billions of people around the world, but there’s no denying that behind the scenes there is a lot of shady business happening.
Large recording companies abuse contract law in a bid to control artists and tie them into long-term contracts that mean if they achieve success, they find it difficult to move and shape their career in the way that they like.
Kanye West (who has still yet to drop his hotly-anticipated Yandhi) is drawing attention these often unjust antics through his high-profile legal dispute with EMI. In his lawsuit, West claims that he is not allowed to retire under the conditions that are set out in the contract he signed before the release of his hit debut album, College Dropout.
His lawsuit contends that it is impossible to meet the requirements in the original contact, which has been extended time and again. This effectively means he would be unable to retire.
There are six demands in the lawsuit but essentially it all comes down to ownership and money. The rapper wants complete ownership over every song that he wrote after October 1, 2010. In addition, he also wants to receive the last four years’ worth of money EMI gained from those tracks… In addition to his lawyer fees!
The lawsuit contends that the contract should have expired seven years after having been signed, according to California law. The difficult here is, though, that EMI provides a publishing deal rather than a recording deal. This means that the publisher is fighting back.
EMI is hoping to move the case to the federal level in order to re-frame the question, where it would become a matter of debating which party owns the copyrights of the songs.
The lawsuit will continue to develop over the coming months.