Pink Floyd battles EMI in online royalties case

Tue Mar 9, 2010 9:07am EST
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LONDON (Reuters) - Pink Floyd on Tuesday launched legal action against record label EMI in a case that centres around royalty payments and how music is sold in the digital age.

The group, which signed with EMI over 40 years ago and whose back catalog has been outsold only by that of the Beatles, is disputing how online royalty payments and the marketing of their music are calculated, the Press Association reported.

The band, whose albums include "The Dark Side of the Moon" and "The Wall," is also challenging EMI's ability to "unbundle" their albums and sell individual tracks online.

Robert Howe, Pink Floyd's lawyer, told the High Court in London that a contractual clause "expressly prohibited" such "unbundling," or the selling of tracks other than in their original configuration whether in physical or digital form.

He added that EMI's position was that the prohibition "applies only to the physical product and doesn't apply online."

But that "makes no commercial sense" and was contradicted by the conditions used in the agreement with EMI, Howe argued.

(Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato)