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The Temptations have filed a class action royalty suit against Universal Music Group (UMG) over digital download royalties in federal court in California, reports.


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The lawsuit claims that UMG lists iTunes downloads as “sales” rather than “licenses,’ cheating the artists out of high amounts of revenue, the article states.

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There are more than a dozen of these types of lawsuits pending in courts, including eight that were filed in the past 12 months. The latest challenge, similar to what has come already, seeks to punish UMG for attempting to get away with paying pennies on the dollar when artists believe they should be making dimes on the dollar. The cases are potentially worth hundreds of millions of dollars to the music industry. UMG is about to go to trial with F.B.T. Productions, producers for Eminem.

The new lawsuit from The Temptations, which covers other artists similarly situated, cites the F.B.T. case. According to the complaint:

“UMG’s Standard Recording Agreements are, in every material way, the same as those at issue in F.B.T. Prods. Accordingly, Plaintiffs here allege that the digital download income received by UMG from Digital Content Providers are based on ‘licenses’ and not ‘sales,’ as those terms are defined in UMG’s Standard Recording Agreements with these Providers. Just as in F.B.T. Prods., UMG has not properly accounted for the appropriate amount of royalties owed to Plaintiffs and Class members.”

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