Elvis Presley estate suing Arista Music

Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley’s estate is suing Germany’s Arista Music for $9m in unpaid royalties. It also alleges that the label exploited Presley in a $5.4m buyout of his catalogue in 1973. Under that agreement, the label – then called RCA – bought the rights to Presley’s back catalogue, splitting the $5.4m fee between Presley and his manager, Colonel Tom Parker.

As well as seeking unpaid royalties, the estate aims for a share of future revenue until 2023.

As a result of the 1973 contract, Presley went on to receive $10 a year for worldwide rights of each of 1,000+ recordings. The Presley estate claims that the singer’s annual payment for each song is “conspicuously disproportionate.” Under copyright laws, German courts do have the power to fix disproportionate deals like this with more fair terms.

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