LOS ANGELES (CN) – Segundo Suenos has accused two members of the 1970s funk band Ohio Players of swindling it out of royalty-collection fees and lying to record companies about the assignment of rights to the band’s recordings.
According to separate lawsuits filed in Superior Court, band members Marshall Jones and Marvin Pierce owe $250,000 in royalties to royalty-collection company Segundo. It claims its predecessor, Artist Rights Foundation, assumed the rights to the Ohio Players’ recordings in 1998, with the understanding that it would collect outstanding royalty payments in exchange for a cut of the royalties.
After conveying the music rights to the foundation, Jones and Pierce said they were not getting any royalty payments, despite the continued sale of their albums. Segundo claims the foundation discovered that Jones gave up any future claim to royalties in a Chicago settlement with two record companies.
Even so, Segundo claims, the foundation assumed that the assignation only applied to the initial copyright term and filed renewal term copyright registrations. It also hired a music administrator to help collect payments for the renewal term, but was unable to do so.
Segundo took over the foundation’s contract in 2005. In 2004, Segundo says it found out that Jones and Pierce had transferred 60 Ohio Players’ recordings to Westbound Records and Bridgeport Music in 1999.
The two musicians purportedly made $500,000 in royalties over the last 10 years, but has circumvented the foundation and Segundo by receiving direct royalty payments from Warner/Chappell Music, Universal Records and Broadcast Music. Apparently, neither the musicians nor the record companies documented the payments.
Jones and Pierce also actively deny ever assigning the rights to Ohio Players’ music to the foundation or to Segundo, the lawsuit states. Warner/Chappell Music and Universal Records refused to pay royalties to Segundo and the foundation after Jones and Pierce told the companies in 2006 that the assignation never happened.
Segundo wants $250,000 – half of Pierce and Jones’ royalty payments – and a declaration validating the assignation.
Brian Boydston is representing Segundo.