Firm scores series of victories in Rick James digital download case

November 1, 2011 – In a case likely to help determine the future of the digital music business, United States District Court Judge Susan Illston has sided with PE&G clients Rick James, Rob Zombie, Dave Mason and others and denied Universal Music Group's motions to dismiss or transfer the clients' action over UMG's treatment of income derived from its licensing to download music providers in its accounting to artists, producers and other royalty participants. In her nine-page order, Judge Illston ruled that the firm's clients properly stated a claim under California state statutory law arising from their allegations of a "broad scheme to underpay numerous royalty participants" in UMG's accounting for the licensing income it receives from digital music providers, and otherwise permitted the case to continue in San Francisco as a putative class action on behalf of the named plaintiffs and all other royalty participants similarly situated. The decision has prompted at least one other case brought by legendary Public Enemy front man, Chuck D, as well as a spate of publicity on this development and the subject of damages in a case involving Eminem's catalog of recorded music. Earlier, the judge allowed discovery to commence in the case, against the wishes of UMG. That discovery is now underway. For more information about the Rick James case, click here.