Friday, November 4, 2011
By Tim Kenneally
LOS ANGELES (TheWrap.com) - is being asked to pay the piper when it comes to digital licensing -- and the bill could end up being pretty hefty indeed.
Public Enemy frontman Chuck D (born) filed a class-action lawsuit against Universal in in Northern California on Tuesday, alleging that the music giant has short-changed its artists and producers in licensing deals for digital downloads and ringtones.
The suit alleges that Universal owes its artists "hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties" because of the discrepancies.
According to the suit, Universal's artists and producers are entitled to 50 percent of the net receipts from digital downloads and ringtones.
However, the suit alleges, the company has treated such transactions like sales of physical product. Meaning that not only is there a much lower royalty rate involved, but the company makes deductions for things like containers and packaging -- which aren't an issue for digital downloads or ringtones.
The difference, the suit claims, is massive.
According to Ridenhour's claim, under UMG's current method of accounting, artists and producers receive $80.33 for every 1,000 downloads, when the correct amount should be $315.85 per 1,000.
On the ringtone side of things, the discrepancy is even more drastic. The suit claims that UMG's current accounting method yields $49.89 per thousand downloads, as opposed to the $660 per 1,000 that the suit claims is actually owed.
Ridenhour, who claims breach of contract, is demanding a jury trial.
The Public Enemy frontman isn't the only one claiming shenanigans in UMG's accounting. The trust of deceased "Super Freak" singer Rick James has also filed a class-action suit against the company, also claiming that UMG is treating licensing profits as resale profits. Though the company attempted have the complaint dismissed, U.S. District Judge Susan Illston dismissed that motion Tuesday.
TheWrap was unable to reach UMG for comment.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
A Marietta company that provides in-home nursing services is accused of steering black nurses away from the homes of white clients.
Former staffers at Accord Services said the company would describe nurses as “too black, too ethnic, and too old or too ghetto" in deciding whether to send them to a home, according to a federal lawsuit.
"Defendants intentionally discriminated against black applicants and employees, including both African Americans and Africans, in favor of Caucasian and Hispanic applicants and employees," said the lawsuit, which seeks monetary damages.
The four plaintiffs said the "negative stereotyping of blacks created a working environment permeated with hostility towards blacks."
A spokesman for the company, however, said the plaintiffs are simply disgruntled former employees who had either resigned or were fired.
"I read the allegation, and it is completely false," administrator Freddy Allen told Channel 2 Action News. He noted that the company has black nurses who have worked for Accord Services for almost a decade.
The plaintiffs are listed as Erika Arnold, Tracee Goodman, Debra Trawick and Christine Muchene. They claim violations under the U.S. Civil Rights Act.
"You could hear something from, ‘We can't use a nurse because they were too ghetto,' or ‘This client doesn't prefer foreigners' and ‘Black women are not professional,'" Arnold, a former human resources manager, said in the lawsuit. She was hired in June 2007 and fired in April 2009.
Goodman, another former HR staffer who worked at the company between October 2006 and December 2008, made similar allegations in the 63-page suit.
"Before placing someone in a position, I was blatantly asked in front of a group of people what color is she or how old is she," said Goodman, who verified applications and conducted background checks.
Goodman said "race-based" comments were made regularly at staffing meetings, where Accord would express preferences to hire white and Hispanic applicants for nurse and nurse's aide positions.
Trawick, a white office manager who worked at Accord between June and August 2009, said the company openly discussed clients' preferences for white or younger nurses and nurse's aides.
“'You gotta staff him with a WG because you know he doesn’t want a black person,'” Trawick said in recalling comments at meetings. "‘We can’t use her. She is missing a tooth and [is] too ghetto.'”
Muchene, a certified nurse's aide and a Kenyan, said she first applied to Accord in 2007 and every year she was told her application was active and she would be called if a position became available. She said she was never called even after seeing postings for job openings that later would be filled.
Trawick, while she was office manager, said that when she inquired about Muchene's application, she was told the company preferred younger applicants and non-Africans.
Muchene, a permanent legal U.S. resident, filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which issued her a "notice of right to sue."
Allen, however, dismissed the claims.
"All the allegations are coming from a few disgruntled employees who either resigned or we let go," the Accord Services’ administrator told Channel 2.
Allen, who is also black, said if a potential client requests a nurse of a different race the request is denied and the client is referred elsewhere.
An attorney for the plaintiffs says the group wants a jury to decide monetary damages.
Samuel L. Jackson attends the 'The Mountaintop' press confrence at Brooklyn High School of the Arts on September 19, 2011 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)
by Risa Dixon
Samuel L. Jackson has been named the highest-grossing actor of all time by The Guinness Book of World Records, according to the New York Daily News. Jackson, 62, has made over $7.42 billion over the span of his entire career.
Jackson got his big break in 1991 in the Spike Lee film, Jungle Fever. He played the crack head brother of Wesley Snipes. Since then the acclaimed actor has starred in over 100 films such asPulp Fiction, A Time To Kill, Eve's Bayou and Star Wars. You can see a more extensive list of his movie roles here.
The star does about three to four films a year. He filmed 6 movies in 2010, 4 in 2011 and is already cast for three movies next year in 2012. He is currently starring as Martin Luther King Jr. in the Broadway play, The Mountaintop.
Congrats to Mr. Samuel. This is a well deserved honor.
What's your favorite Samuel L. Jackson movie?
Thursday, November 3, 2011