Four Tet brings Domino copyright dispute to UK court

Kieran Hebden (aka Four Tet) files legal action against Domino over streaming royalties, UK outlet reported Music week. He is said to have sought “damages of up to £ 70,000 plus the costs of the claim for historical streaming and download royalties”, as well as a judgment on a contested royalty rate. Pitchfork has reached out to representatives for Four Tet and Domino for comment.

The case revolves around a contract Hebden signed with the label in 2001, long before the advent of contemporary streaming services. His legal team has allegedly argued that Hebden is entitled to a 50% royalty rate for music streamed on platforms based outside the UK, such as Spotify and Apple Music. The conviction stems from the following contractual clause:

With respect to the exploitation of the Masters and any videos incorporating the Masters which we receive from our licensees outside the UK, we will credit your audio and audiovisual royalty accounts respectively with 50% of all royalties and costs resulting from this operation.

Domino does not believe that streaming qualifies for the 50% royalty rate, stating that “streaming was not, as of the date of the 2001 agreement, a common method for the legal distribution of recorded music and no ‘was not at this date in the contemplation of the parties.

Instead, Domino allegedly claimed that Hebden “was only entitled to 75% of the 18% of the reseller’s price (i.e. a 13.5% royalty rate), although the label paid the full 18% on a discretionary basis.

The case will be brought before a judge in the business and property courts of the High Court of Justice following the failure of efforts to settle an out-of-court settlement.

Read “A Guide to the Royalty Battle Between Streaming Services and Songwriters in the Field.”

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