Elvis Presley estate suing Arista
- 2 September 2011
- From the section Entertainment & Arts
Elvis Presley's estate is suing Arista Music in Germany for $9m (£5.6m) in unpaid royalties dating back to 2002 for ringtones, downloads and apps.
It also alleges the label, then called RCA, exploited Presley in a $5.4m (£3.3m) 1973 buyout of his catalogue.
It claims that, as a result of the contract, Presley went on to receive $10 (£6) a year for worldwide rights to each of more than 1,000 recordings ,and wants a share of future revenue.
Arista's owner Sony did not comment.
Under the 1973 agreement, RCA bought the rights to Presley's back catalogue - with the $5.4m fee split evenly between the singer and his manager, Colonel Tom Parker, according to legal papers.
The Presley estate says the singer's annual payment for each song of about $10 is "conspicuously disproportionate" to the revenue RCA made from master recordings.
As well as seeking $9m (£5.6m) in unpaid royalties, the estate wants a share of future revenue until 2023 - 50 years after the deal was struck and the year when Arista's copyright expires under German law.
The estate says it wants "equitable remuneration".
Under the country's copyright laws, German courts have the power to redress disproportionate deals with more equitable terms.
Leslie Perrin, chairman of British firm Calunius Capital, which is advising the estate, said Germany was responsible for 10% of the singer's sales in the world and was "Elvis crazy".