July 25, 2008 / 12:34 AM / 10 years ago

Former Smashing Pumpkins sue over downloads

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Two former members of the Smashing Pumpkins sued Virgin Records on Thursday, saying the label shut them out of profits after signing a deal with the rock band’s frontman Billy Corgan.

File photo shows Smashing Pumpkins' lead singer Billy Corgan performing during the Imperial Festival in La Guacima near San Jose April 19, 2008. REUTERS/Monica Quesada

In their lawsuit filed in Los Angeles, James Iha and D’Arcy Wretzky-Brown, both 40, accused Virgin Records America Inc. of not paying them for music downloads and other digitally delivered Smashing Pumpkins music.

Iha and Wretzky-Brown, who were founding members of the Smashing Pumpkins, said in their lawsuit that, five years after the band first broke up in 2000, Virgin entered into a deal with Corgan, 41, and began licensing Smashing Pumpkins music through electronic transmissions.

“To date, Virgin continues to engage in the exploitation of electronic transmissions of the band’s recordings without plaintiffs’ consent,” the lawsuit states.

A spokeswoman for Virgin, a unit of privately held EMI Group, declined to comment on the lawsuit because the company had not received it.

The Pumpkins, a Grammy-winning alternative rock band that formed in Chicago 20 years ago, achieved mainstream success with its albums “Siamese Dream” and “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.”

Corgan, the group’s primary songwriter, resurrected the Smashing Pumpkins last year, without Iha or Wretzky-Brown. He told reporters in April that he has “zero” communication with them. Wretzky-Brown, who quit the band in 1999, has largely left the music business. Iha has kept busy with a variety of musical collaborations.

In March, the Smashing Pumpkins sued Virgin Records over a promotional campaign involving Pepsi and Amazon that the band said damaged its image and reputation.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; editing by Dean Goodman)

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