Entertainment & Arts

Universal fire: Artists' recording claim dismissed

Tom Petty Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Tom Petty died in October 2017

A judge has dismissed a claim against Universal Music Group (UMG) originally brought by several artists and estates over a 2008 warehouse blaze.

The estates of Tom Petty and Tupac Shakur, bands Soundgarden and Hole and singer Steve Earle sued for damages. It was alleged music was lost in the fire.

Most later dropped their claims when it was demonstrated they suffered no loss.

Only Tom Petty's ex-wife Jane was still involved but a judge on Monday said she had not filed enough evidence.

Judge John A Kronstadt, sitting in a California court, dismissed the claim.

One part of the dismissal stated that Tom Petty didn't technically own the masters that were lost - they belonged to his former record label, MCA, which is now owned by UMG.

'Greatest music'

The group of claimants had originally asked for $100m (£82m) in damages.

The case was brought following a New York Times investigation which alleged that hundreds of thousands of master recordings, protection copies, unreleased music and other materials had burned in a massive warehouse fire in 2008.

Several artists alleged UMG was in breach of contract after not sharing a settlement it reached with insurers and accused the record company of not doing enough to prevent the fire.

In a statement, UMG said: "As we have said all along, the New York Times Magazine articles at the root of this litigation were stunning in their overstatement and inaccuracy.

"As always, we remain focused on partnering with artists to release the world's greatest music."

In a statement, Jake Silverstein, the editor of the New York Times Magazine, said: "We stand by Jody Rosen's reporting. This ruling does not refute or question the veracity of what we reported: that, contrary to UMG's continued effort to downplay the event, thousands of recordings were lost in the 2008 fire."


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