Monday, August 20, 2007


Dr. Dre has sued his former label Death Row Records in bankruptcy court to determine who owns the rights to his 1992 album “The Chronic,” which launched rapper Snoop Dogg and helped to define the gangsta rap era. In his filing Wednesday with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Los Angeles, Dre said he believes Death Row, now defunct and mired in bankruptcy, is trying to sell off the copyright to his album and in the past month has solicited bids from potential buyers. The artist, who created, produced and was the principal performer on all master recordings for "The Chronic," says he granted Death Row a license to distribute the album in 1992 in exchange for payment of royalties. The album was released on the label in November of that year.

Sometime in March 1996, Dre agreed to relinquish his 50 percent ownership interest in Death Row Records, as specified in a written agreement. Also under that 1996 agreement, Dr. Dre agreed to hand over copyrights to the album on the condition he continue receiving royalties. According to the lawsuit, Dr. Dre held up his end of the bargain, but Death Row has yet to pay the royalties. As a result, Dr. Dre gave Death Row Records notice in 2000 that he was rescinding the agreements and demanding return of the copyrights. Based on that move, Dr. Dre asserts in the lawsuit that he is again the rightful owner of the copyrights and that the defendants - Death Row and the Chapter 11 trustee administering the bankruptcy case - have infringed on his rights by continuing to distribute the album without the rapper's authorization.

Dr. Dre, born Andre Young, is asking the L.A. bankruptcy court to declare that the 1992 and 1996 agreements have been rescinded and force Death Row and the trustee to restore the copyrights to him. He's also asking that the label and trustee be made to pay him restitution for all revenue Death Row received from its use of the copyrights. Dr. Dre also wants the court to issue a permanent injunction that would bar the defendants from offering the copyrights for sale without his written consent.

SOURCE: Electronic Urban Radio


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