Universal Fire Lawyer Claims New Investigation Is Label’s First
A lawyer involved in the lawsuit against Universal Music Group regarding the 2008 fire in which artists’ back catalogs are believed to have been lost claimed that the label’s current investigation into the event was actually its first.
Hole were removed from the lawsuit following “UMG’s representations that none of Hole’s masters were destroyed (subject to confirmation)," Rolling Stone reported.
The legal action continues with representations from Tom Petty, Soundgarden and Steve Earle remaining. The artists are pursuing complete disclosure over what happened in 2008 and claiming financial compensation. UMG claimed that, under standard recording contracts, the label owned any masters that were destroyed; therefore, the musicians are not entitled to any insurance payments that may have been received.
In response to the updated lawsuit, UMG stated that material recorded by “many of the artists named in the lawsuit were not lost in the 2008 fire,” adding that its “dedicated global team is actively working directly with our artists and their representatives to provide accurate information concerning the assets we have and what might have been lost in the fire. … We will not be distracted from our focus on providing our artists with full transparency even as the plaintiff’s attorneys continue to pursue these baseless claims.”
“Well, isn’t it great!” attorney Ed McPherson said in a responding statement. “After 11 years of assuring artists that basically nothing was lost in the fire, UMG is actually conducting an investigation to what was lost in the fire.” He also claimed that the label had never made an inventory of the material stored in the backlot building that burned down, and asked why the company did not “enlist its dedicated global team 11 years ago."
“And as for UMG’s ‘full transparency,’" McPherson noted, "perhaps UMG should be asked, Why is the majority of the court file in the NBC litigation redacted? Why don’t you give the plaintiffs any unredacted documents, including those showing how your loss was evaluated? And why have you filed a motion to stay all discovery in the case until Nov. 4?”