Dru Hill Loses Royalties Lawsuit Against EMI, Sony/ATV
A New York federal judge dismissed Dru Hill’s royalties lawsuit against EMI and Sony/ATV on Feb. 24.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, group members Sisqo, Woody and Jazz filed a lawsuit in 2015 claiming that $600,000 of Sisqo’s royalties were paid to 27 Red Music from EMI, while $30,000 of Woody Jazz’s royalty cut went to the same music publisher as well.
The suit stems from a 1996 music publishing and administration agreements Dru Hill signed with nonparty Art of War Music Publishing. In 2002, Art of War entered into an administration agreement with EMI that provided that EMI would pay royalties to artists under contract with Art of War directly on Art of War’s behalf, according to the ruling.
Sony/ATV was added to the suit in 2012, after the company acquired EMI, where Dru Hill filed a second complainant for breach of implied contract and declaratory relief. However, Judge Alison Nathan ruled in favor of the defendants on the basis that Dru Hill failed to allege an enforceable contract mentioned in the lawsuit.
"[E]ven taking all allegations in the SAC to be true and disregarding entirely the first two complaints, Plaintiffs still fall short of stating a plausible claim to relief as against EMI and Sony," writes Judge Alison Nathan.
Dru Hill had also asked the court to terminate the EMI Administration Agreement so that the EMI and Sony/ATV will no longer have the right to administer their musical compositions. But the judge denied their request because they lack standing and because they were neither parties to the EMI agreement nor intended third-party beneficiaries of it.
Unfortunately, the group's lawsuit against 27 Red remains unresolved as Sisqo is suing for breach of contract, while Woody and Jazz are suing for breach of implied contract. All three group members are suing for breach of fiduciary duty and conversion.
Dru Hill's attorney, Lita Teresa Rosario, had no comment on the matter.