The Knack Drummer’s Estate Sues Capitol Records Over Digital Download Fees
Felice Catena, the sister of former Knack drummer, the late Bruce Gary, is suing Capitol Records. She claims the once-mighty label has been a bit less than fair when it comes to royalty rates for digital downloads. Catena inherited the rights to Bruce's music upon his death and, on behalf of his estate, has filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
So what does Felice think is a fair rate? According to TMZ, the lawsuit claims that Capitol owes her 50% of the net receipts from sales via I-Tunes, Amazon and other download sites. 50%! In other words, when you gonna give me some dimes Sharona?!
The Knack signed to Capitol back when the concept of a digital download was about as real as The Jetsons. Heck, that first release even came out on 8-track! So, obviously contracts signed back then could never have foreseen 'other' forms of media such as MP3's.
Once the format arrived on the scene, the record companies were caught in a proverbial pants down moment -- not knowing how to account for this intangible, non-physical format. The debate here seems to be over whether the download is to been categorized as an item that is sold, or if it is music which is licensed. Therein lies the story as the common licensing fees are around 50%, whereas sales fees are more like 15%.
Watch the Knack Perform 'My Sharona'