“Eat It” singer “Weird Al” Yankovic claims Sony found a number of creative ways to deprive him of royalties
"Weird Al" Yankovic says that Sony Music Entertainment owes him to the tune of $5 million.
In a lawsuit filed Friday in U.S. District Court in New York, the "Eat It" musical parodist Yankovic claims that Sony has shortchanged him on royalties with a variety of improper accounting practices. He is seeking a judgment somewhere north of $5 million.
The suit, which was filed by Yankovic's company Ear Booker Enterprises, claims breach of contract and breach of the implied duty of good faith and fair dealing, and makes numerous claims against Sony. According to the suit, Ear Booker first informed Sony that its accounting was off with a March 2010 audit report, after which Sony responded with a rebuttal "falsely claiming that Sony had overpaid Ear Booker $80,231 during the periods audited."
According to the suit, Sony "has incorrectly reported to Ear Booker the quantity of products sold, has incorrectly categorized those products, and has incorrectly paid Ear Booker for products for which it has accounted."
Sony had no comment for TheWrap.
Among the alleged dirty dealings on Sony's part: Double-charging Ear Booker for advance royalty payments, miscategorizing marketing costs as production costs that can be recouped, charging for expenses that it hasn't provided documentation for, miscategorizing commercial videos as promotional videos that can be recouped against, and reporting negative streaming royalties on the tune "Don't Download This Song" — something that the suit claims is an impossibility.
In addition to seeking more than $5 million in damages to be determined by a jury trial, Yankovic is seeking interest, attorneys' fees and court costs, and an order for Sony to provide a full accounting.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.