WASHINGTONûRapper and music producer Dr. Dre wants to investigate Death Row Records Inc. to determine how much the record company owes him for unpaid royalties from sales of his records. Dr. Dre, whose real name is Andre Young, has already tried to sue th
Last month, a California district court agreed to hear his appeal of the bankruptcy court’s dismissal of one of those suits. In the meantime, however, Young told the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Los Angeles in recent documents that he needs to determine the value of a claim he holds against Death Row for unpaid royalties accruing after the record label’s bankruptcy filing.
Young is asking for permission to obtain this information under Rule 2004 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, which allows bankruptcy judges to order companies to turn over documents related to their assets, liabilities and financial affairs. The documents that Young’s requesting include those with information related to contracts between him and the record label, revenue from the sale of his recordings and agreements to release his recordings as part of compilation albums.
He asked the bankruptcy court to make Death Row hand over the documents on Feb. 29 and to order its representatives to be available for deposition on March 7. The dispute centers around Young’s album, which was released in 1992. Young, who co-founded Death Row in 1991 with Marion ”Suge” Knight and initially held a 50 percent ownership stake in the label, granted Death Row a license to distribute this album in exchange for royalties.
In 1996, Young agreed to surrender his ownership interest in the label but retained his right to continue to receive royalties for all recordings released prior to the agreement. Young has argued that Death Row hasn’t lived up to its end of the bargain and further broke the contract by granting another company distribution rights to his recordings.
The court-appointed administrator running the record label’s bankruptcy estate recently asked to sell Death Row’s music-related assets to Warner Music Group Corp. for $25 million, subject to higher bids at auction.
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