A class action lawsuit brought against Universal Music Group over a 2008 warehouse fire was dismissed by a Federal judge in California yesterday (April 6).
The action, filed by the Tupac and Tom Petty estates, as well as Soundgarden, Steve Earle and Hole, alleged that master recordings belonging to them were destroyed in a warehouse fire at the NBCUniversal Studios in Hollywood in 2008.
The litigation followed the publication of a New York Times article, which claimed that up to 500,000 master recordings of songs were damaged in the fire, naming these artists as having lost material in the fire.
The lawsuit also claimed that UMG’s insurance claims and losses were valued at $150 million in its legal action against NBC following the blaze, and sought “50% of any settlement proceeds and insurance payments received by UMG for the loss of the Master Recordings, and 50% of any remaining loss of value not compensated by such settlement proceeds and insurance payments”.
UMG filed a motion to dismiss the case in February, branding the lawsuit as “meritless”.
Hole was removed from the case back in August 2019 while Soundgarden and the Tupac Estate dropped out in March, followed by Steve Earle later that month, which means that the only remaining plaintiff in the case was Tom Petty’s wife Jane Petty, whose claim to ownership of Petty’s recordings was dismissed by Judge John A. Kronstadt yesterday.
According to a statement issued by a UMG spokesperson yesterday, “the New York Times Magazine articles at the root of this litigation were stunning in their overstatement and inaccuracy”.
Times Magazine Editor Jake Silverstein said in a statement that “this ruling does not refute or question the veracity of what we reported: that, contrary to UMG’s continued effort to downplay the event, thousands of recordings were lost in the 2008 fire.”
“As we have said all along, the New York Times Magazine articles at the root of this litigation were stunning in their overstatement and inaccuracy.”
A UMG spokesperson said: “Judge Kronstadt’s decision fully dismisses the Soundgarden litigation and entirely rejects the only remaining plaintiff’s arguments.
“As we have said all along, the New York Times Magazine articles at the root of this litigation were stunning in their overstatement and inaccuracy.
“As always, we remain focused on partnering with artists to release the world’s greatest music.”Music Business Worldwide