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Rap Producer Dr. Dre Sues Death Row Records for Royalties

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By Kamika Dunlap on February 16, 2010 11:45 AM

Rap producer Dr. Dre's debut solo studio album, "The Chronic" was a hit and sold more than three million copies.

But since the release of a new version of his iconic album, Dr. Dre claims he has not pocketed any of the royalties.

According to the Associated Press, rap producer and artist Dr. Dre sued the owners of Death Row Records. Dre, whose real name is Andre Young claims that he has not been paid royalties on the original "The Chronic" album since he split with Death Row in 1996.

In general, a royalty is compensation for the use of property, usually copyrighted works, patented inventions, or natural resources, expressed as a percentage of receipts from using the property or as a payment for each unit produced.

Young, filed the $75,000 suit in federal suit in federal court in Los Angeles against WIDEawake Death Row Records and its parent companies.

"The Chronic" was first released in 1992. Since then, Young has remained a best-selling artist working with best-selling rappers such as Snoop Dogg, Eminem and 50 Cent.

The lawsuit claims the label failed to pay royalties and released a new version of his album "Chronic Re-Lit" without his permission.

Death Row Records eventually went bankrupt but was bought by WIDEawake and re-formed.

According to the suit, Young's original contract did not include digital distribution rights. In addition, the lawsuit alleges that WIDEawake Death Row Records has also sold digital copies of his album without proper rights.

 Young is seeking damages for several claims including:

  • breach of contract
  • false advertising
  • trademark infringement; and
  • misappropriation of publicity

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