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Steve Earle Pulls Out of Universal Music Fire Lawsuit



Steve Earle has pulled out of a lawsuit in opposition to Common Music Group that was filed by 5 artists final yr over harm the artists’ musical recordings suffered in a 2008 fireplace that destroyed many property within the firm’s vaults. With the withdrawal from the lawsuit earlier this month of the Tupac Property and Soundgarden, and withdrawal final yr of the group Gap, this leaves solely the contested property of Tom Petty.

Though a bitter authorized dispute between Petty’s second spouse, Dana York, and his two daughters from his earlier marriage was settled in December, they continue to be actively concerned within the UMG lawsuit.

Plaintiff Steve Earle hereby dismissed with out prejudice his particular person claims and withdraws as a putative class consultant” within the motion, the doc reads. “Plaintiff reserves his rights to proceed on this matter as an absent class member.”

Whereas Common’s archives suffered in depth harm within the fireplace, the firm has disputed the small print within the July 2019 New York Occasions report that first revealed the extent of the harm. The report estimated that round 500,000 masters by a few of the best artists of the previous century had been destroyed.

Sources say the artists who introduced go well with did so primarily based on the stories within the Occasions, and the evaluation of the harm suffered by the archives of these artists have largely been disputed by UMG, citing investigations by its archivist. Gap acknowledged final yr that its archives had not suffered important harm and withdrew from the go well with.

In keeping with the Occasions’ sources, artists whose recordings date again additional than those who introduced go well with are stated to have suffered extra in depth harm.

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The corporate’s chief archivist, Pat Kraus, despatched the corporate’s workers a memo earlier this month updating progress on the stock. Amongst different factors, he says that the Occasions’ evaluation might have been flawed as a result of its use of incomplete information — lots of which had been additionally destroyed — and insurance coverage claims made by the corporate within the months instantly after the fireplace, which had been at occasions common and primarily based on staffers’ reminiscences. He additionally offers particular numbers on the stock, with out naming artists.

“The Occasions printed an inventory of 830 artist names and acknowledged or implied that these artists misplaced unique recordings within the fireplace,” he writes. “Of the 392 inquiries that we’ve obtained thus far, my staff and I’ve reviewed greater than 150,000 property and responded to 209 of these artists. To date, lower than 0.1 % of these property may need been unique recordings affected by the fireplace.”

Additionally within the memo, he estimates that “lower than 5% of [UMG’s] whole property” had been within the facility that was broken by the fireplace.

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