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Judge Denies Key Claim Against EMI

In a first-round victory for music giant EMI Group, a New York federal judge has denied a key argument presented by a small rap label that accused the company of failing to promote its recordings and falsifying sales reports.

Los Angeles-based Avatar Records had alleged that EMI, the music giant that formerly distributed its releases, forced the smaller label to hire an independent marketing consultant to inflate album performances on industry sales charts.

But the judge dismissed that charge, saying the label failed to present any evidence that the consultant tried to falsify Avatar results. The judge allowed the rap label to proceed with other allegations against EMI, including a claim that the British conglomerate breached an oral agreement to extend its deal with Avatar through 2003.

The judge also handed a significant win to EMI, however, ordering Avatar and its chief, Larry Robinson, to pay the company more than $1.1 million in back fees.

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