A selected summary of Southern California-related business litigation developments during the past week.
Musician Sues A&M; Records: Musician Lee Michaels, best known for his hit song “Do You Know What I Mean?,” has sued A&M; Records alleging that it licensed two of his songs to rap artist Young MC at an unfair price to benefit a sister company. The Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit said Michaels’ 1968 recording contract with A&M; provided for Michaels to get a portion of license fees from his songs. A&M; licensed Michaels’ 1970 recordings of “Who Could Want More” and “Heighty Hi” in September, 1989, to Delicious Vinyl for use on Young MC’s recordings “Principal’s Office” and “Roll With the Punches.” Although the songs appeared on Young MC’s “Stone Cold Rhymin”’ album, which sold more than 1 million copies, Michaels received only $666.80 because A&M; licensed the songs for a flat fee of $1,000 each, “below the fair market value,” the suit said. It said A&M; cut the deal to benefit Delicious Vinyl, which became its sister company a month later when A&M; was sold to Polygram. The suit seeks at least $75,000 in damages. (Civil Case No. BC021665. Filed Feb. 19)