In early 2013, Entertainment One purchased the catalogue of now-bankrupt Death Row Records, and this week Tupac Shakur‘s mother (and co-administrator of his estate) filed a lawsuit against the firm for unpaid royalties.
The acquisition cost Entertainment One $280 million, and Ms. Shakur argues that while Death Row had physical possession of her son’s unreleased material, it didn’t have ownership rights. The Hollywood Reporter outlines more on the intricacies of the case:
According to the latest lawsuit, Tupac’s estate entered into a settlement agreement in 1997 with Death Row and its then-distributor Interscope Records that confirmed that the estate had exclusive ownership over unreleased master recordings and audiovisual work, that Death Row would be provided with one “album’s worth” of material, and that the estate would receive royalties from future exploitation of released and unreleased Tupac material.
Three Tupac Shakur albums were to be released, according to an agreement made in 2003 with Koch Entertainment. Ms. Shakur alleges that the royalties owed never got paid, likely due to the firm’s constant changes to corporate ownership in the last decade. She’s suing for breach of contract.
Interestingly, Shakur has retained the same legal representation that Dr. Dre used in a lawsuit over royalties and rights, King, Holmes, Paterno and Berliner.