Live on stage: Avenged Sevenfold face jury trial in battle with Warners

September 2017

Recorded music, artistes


Metal band Avenged Sevenfold’s troubles with Warner Bros continue, stemming from a legal action brought by the major label in January 2016. The action began when the label sued the band over the band’s failure to deliver a new album. In response, Avenged Sevenfold cited the “seven-year rule” set out in the California Labor Code which allows parties to leave personal service contracts under certain circumstances after seven years have passed. 

The Hollywood Reporter reports that intense record industry lobbying had meant the the Code was amended in the 1980s to allow record companies to claim lost profits on uncompleted albums. Record companies, though, only have 45 days to do so when an artist exercises the right to terminate.

At the heart of the didpute is Avenged Sevenfold’s album The Stage which was released via Capitol Records, and at the same time Warner Bros. put out a Avenged Sevenfold ‘Greatest Hits’. Most commentators then presumed the legal dispute had been settled – but not so – and now the “seven-year rule” will be tested before a jury. The Hollywood Reporter estimate that if Avenged Sevenfold (ultimately) lose the court battle, it could cost them between $5 million and $10 million. A victory for the band would substantially strengthen the position of artistes tied to long term exclusive recording agreement. Avenged Sevenfold vocalist Matt Sanders (M. Shadow) has now said “We’ve realized this battle is bigger than just us” and “We’re fighting so that all musical artists have the same rights everyone else has. It’s not like we wanted to be here, but we are down for the fight.”

The lawsuit is expected to go to court this December.

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