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Band members’ royalty dispute enters into business litigation

Oregon has its share of intellectual property disputes that arise in a wide variety of factual circumstances. One common area of business litigation involves disputes over royalty payments to artists, inventors and other claimants. These disputes often involve an entertainment setting where musicians, actors or writers claim that they are not getting paid their due royalties from a contractual relationship. Such claims are generally framed in terms of a breach of contract allegedly committed by the defending party.

For example, a band known as Korn recently sued a former drummer for making a claim for royalties that the band says were written off by the drummer in a contractual settlement that occurred in 2016. The band claims that it paid the drummer with a lump sum settlement at that time. The complaint alleges that the drummer nonetheless made a claim for more royalties against the company that is handling the royalty payments.

The complaint also alleges that the company handling royalty payments has stopped paying all royalties to the remaining band members, presumably as long as the conflicting claims exist. The band alleges that they have lost $290,000 in royalties to date. The lawsuit is against the drummer and requests a declaration from the court that he is not entitled to collect any further royalties.

The lawsuit claims that the drummer breached the 2016 contract. Such disputes can come up in a wide spectrum of factual circumstances, but the essential claim is most often based on a breach of contract. Usually the claim is made by the individual who is seeking back and future royalty payments, but in this case the group is claiming that an individual is trying to collect its royalties illegally after having been compensated in a settlement agreement. Claims regarding royalties and breach of entertainment contracts in general are common business litigation matters in Oregon and most other states.

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