Earache suing Century Media

Posted by on March 28, 2014

earache-centuryIt’s getting harder and harder for labels to eke out a living these days now that many people are moving on to streaming services. In fact, Earache is looking to get $250,000 from Century Media. It’s actually a  bit more complicated than that. The two metal labels entered into a three-year partnership last year that appears to not be going that well. In fact, Entertainment Law Digest reports that Earache has taken Century Media to court, looking for $250,000 in licensing fees. In addition to the licensing fees, Earache is claiming that of the 356 albums it delivered to Century, including 10 new releases, the company has only released them in the United States.

 “Without each album being released in the U.S. during the term of the agreement, it is impossible for Earache Records to earn royalties in the U.S. market (in this case, for several years), and fulfill its obligations to its artists,” the 17-page lawsuit states. (Parentheses in complaint.)
To duck two advance payments of $125,000, Century Family’s lawyers sent the British label a letter that falsely accused it of breaching the licensing agreement, the complaint states. Earache calls that a “transparent pretext” for delaying payment.

As well as defaulting on the fees, Century Family allegedly used album artwork and set release dates without Earache’s approval. The U.S. company failed to account for royalties in a timely manner, Earache adds.

Earache says Century Family is still marketing and selling Earache’s records in the U.S. market.

It’s a little vague as to what this means, since the Courthouse News article says “only released in the United States” and the ruling alleging that the albums aren’t out in the United States, but Earache is seeking an injunction from Century continuing to sell their albums, as well as the licensing fees. To be clear, Century has had a bit of upheaval in the past few months. The label’s co-founder Oliver Witheöft passed away earlier this year, an U.S. president Don Robertson left the label. However, they’ve done pretty well sales-wise, with releases from Otherwise and In This Moment doing pretty well. It will be interesting to see how things shake out.

[via Metal Sucks]

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Categorised in: Label Moves, Legal Woes