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Dr Dre - sues death row over chronic

Dr Dre

Dr. Dre and Marion "Suge" Knight are still at odds over the rights to his landmark 1992 album The Chronic, but now Dre has been forced to take his fight to a more ambiguous adversary.

According to the Associated Press, Dr Dre filed a lawsuit in bankruptcy court this week against Suge's defunct label Death Row Records, hoping to convince the court to help him stop the sale of the Chronic copyrights as part of the now-destitute label's Chapter 11 proceedings.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday with the US Bankruptcy Court in Los Angeles, asserts that Dr. Dre created, produced, and was the principal performer on all master recordings for The Chronic, and therefore is the owner of the copyrights for the album.

But in 1992, Dre granted Death Row a license to distribute the album in exchange for royalty payments. Four years later, Dre relinquished his 50 percent ownership interest in Death Row Records when he sought to launch his own Aftermath label. Dre also agreed to hand over copyrights to the album on the condition he continue receiving royalties.

But following the 1996 slaying of fellow Death Row artist Tupac Shakur and Knight's subsequent prison stint, Death Row began to unravel. Dre's lawsuit argues that Death Row stopped paying him royalties on The Chronic.

In 2000, Dre gave Death Row Records notice in 2000 that he was rescinding the agreements and demanding return of the copyrights. But his ability to assert that decision has proven difficult with Death Row in Chapter 11 proceedings and a bankruptcy trustee looking to sell the label's assets to repay creditors. In the complaint, Dre claims that the trustee is attempting to sell the copyrights and is soliciting bids from potential buyers.

Dr. Dre is asking the LA bankruptcy court to declare that the 1992 and 1996 agreements have been rescinded and compel Death Row and the trustee to restore the copyrights to him.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.


Posted by chrisbell on 19 Aug 2007

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