Yesterday, the court ruled in favor of Dennis Stehr (stage name Mr. Probz) and his record label Left Lane Recordings, a trade name of Left Lane B.V., in summary proceedings they filed against Sony Music.
The court of Amsterdam ruled that Sony Music has failed to fulfill its contractual obligations regarding license agreements that Mr. Probz and his company Left Lane B.V. entered into in 2013 and 2014 with Sony Music and Ultra Records for the exploitation of his music. Sony Music must terminate the exploitation as soon as possible. It concerns, among others, the songs ‘Waves’ by Mr. Probz and the ‘Waves-Remix’ (by Robin Schulz) of which the record label of Mr. Probz owns the rights. Asa result of the ruling, Mr. Probz regains full control of the exploitation of his music.
The court ruled that Sony Music has failed to fulfill its obligations by not providing and executing correct, clear and timely payments of the royalties owed to Mr. Probz. Furthermore, Sony Music has not provided sufficient access to important source data (“at source”) of other Sony affiliates. Mr. Probz was therefore allowed to terminate the agreements with Sony Music and Ultra Records earlier this year.
Sony Music argued that it has no control over other Sony affiliates and can only ask them for information. Moreover, Sony Music stated that it does not have to verify statements and payments from foreign affiliates and only has to advance the payment as soon as Sony Music actually receives the money from these affiliates. However, the court ruled that ensuring a correct and complete settlement and timely payment of worldwide royalties is a core obligation of Sony Music and that Sony Music has failed imputably in meeting its obligations by refraining from doing so.
Left Lane Recordings and Mr. Probz are very pleased with the court ruling. Mr. Probz: “For many years, I thought I may have been wrong, but now the judge confirms that Sony Music has indeed acted wrongfully. This ruling indicates that a record company that wishes to hold a worldwide license from an artist also has an obligation to be able to substantiate the worldwide revenues and has its own active obligation to make those revenues available transparently, to monitor them and settle them in a timely manner”.