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Weird Al Yankovic tells Sony to "Eat it"

by on04 April 2012

Ripped me off on online sales

Weird Al Yankovic known for his 1980s musical send-ups of stars such as Michael Jackson and Nirvana has sued  Sony claiming the label underpaid him more than $5 million for online sales.

Yankovic's suit is the latest in a growing list of looming court battles between artists and the nation's major record labels. While Big Content is claiming that it is suing artists' fan bases to make up the cost of piracy, it would appear that the labels are just taking cash of the artists themselves.

Country singer Kenny Rogers, rocker Peter Frampton, members of the '80s rock band Toto and an heir to the drummer for the '70s rock band The Knack have all filed suit on similar grounds. They claim that record labels have kept the lion's share of digital music sales instead of fairly dividing them with the artists. Producers for rapper Eminem sued Universal Music Group last year on similar grounds.

Yankovic's breach-of-contract suit claims more than $5 million in alleged underpayments by Sony for his music sold online through retailers such as iTunes and Amazon or downloaded as ring tones from cellphone companies since 2003. Yankovic claims that he is entitled to a share of Sony's profits from its deal with YouTube. In exchange for an equity stake in Google-owned YouTube, Sony gave the video site legal access to Sony's content. At the time Weird Al's "White and Nerdy" video and other content created by Yankovic were among the most popular videos on the site.

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