Former Jackson family lawyer sues Sony Music

July 2013

Record labels, artists


Sony Music is facing a legal action from a former co-manager of the Jackson brothers and an attorney for the Jackson Family. Richard Arons claims that Epic Records, now part of the major label, has failed to pay him the royalties he is due on Jackson’s early recordings when he was co-manager of the Jackson family’s business affairs. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Arons says that he became attorney to the Jackson family way back in 1969, and three years later became co-manager for the Jackson brothers alongside their father Joe. It was during this time that The Jackson Five left Motown and signed with Epic Records. Arons says that as co-manager of the Jacksons, he took 7.5% of all the brothers’ income, half of the 15% management fee. The management partnership with Joe Jackson ultimately broke down, but in a 1981 settlement it was agreed that he would continue to receive a 7.5% cut (but only of the Jackson brothers’ sound recording revenue) on sound recording output of the Jackson brothers from the early 1970s up to Michael Jackson’s first two solo albums, ‘Off The Wall’ and ‘Thriller’. A brief dispute with Michael himself occurred in 1991, but, says Arons, a settlement was reached which reaffirmed his 7.5% cut. Arons now says that whilst a royalty has been paid over, Sony is failing in its duty to properly account to him and is in breach of contract and the law suit was brought after Sony failed to deliver on a promise a year ago to review Arons’ claims. 75 year old Arons is now claiming the allegedly unpaid royalties, costs and damages – a total of $10 million – and new confirmation about his royalty rights in the LA Superior Court.  Sony Music is yet to comment.

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