James Taylor Says Warner Owes Him $2 Million

By DARRYL GREER

GLENDALE, Calif. (CN) - He's seen fire and he's seen rain, but James Taylor claims in court that he hasn't seen nearly $2 million in royalty checks from Warner Bros.

Two audits revealed that Warner underreported and underpaid him for album sales, digital downloads, ringtones, reissues, and compilations, Taylor and his publishing company, Country Road Music, claim in Superior Court.

Taylor claims that a 1979 settlement agreement granted him 50 percent of net receipts from licensing deals for his master recordings. But he says Warner has cheated him of his share from licensing deals with digital distributors such as iTunes and Verizon.

Taylor says he commissioned an audit of his royalty statements from 2004 to 2007, and provided the results to Warner in April 2008. The audit showed Warner owed him more than $1.6 million, which was whittled down after a back-and-forth so that the disputed amount from that audit stands at more than $518,000, Taylor says.

He claims Warner miscalculated royalty rates on foreign sales and sales of "Mudslide Slim," and sold other releases at an "unauthorized budget price."

He claims he's owed 100 percent of the proceeds from compilation albums that Warner authorized without his consent.

And he claims that a second audit of 2007 to 2010 showed a similar pattern of underreporting royalties.

He seeks nearly $2 million in damages.

He is represented by Paul Duvall in San Diego and Richard Busch, of King & Ballow in Nashville.

Source: Courthouse News Service

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