Saturday, May 22, 2004
State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer today announced a deal with the nation’s top recording companies that returns nearly $50 million in unclaimed royalties to thousands of performers.

The agreement comes after a two-year investigation by Spitzer’s office found that many artists and writers were not being paid royalties because record companies had failed to maintain contact with the performers and had stopped making required payments. This problem affected both star entertainers with numerous hit recordings and obscure musicians who may have had only one recording.
....Prominent artists who were owed royalty payments included: David Bowie, Dolly Parton, Harry Belafonte, Liza Minnelli, Dave Matthews, Sean Combs and Gloria Estefan.

Spitzer noted that while royalty disputes are common in the entertainment industry, this particular problem did not involve disagreement over the terms of the recording contract or the amount of the royalty payment. Instead, it was a matter of the record companies not maintaining accurate contact information to mail royalty payments. Pursuant to the agreement, the companies will make a greater effort to locate and stay in touch with artists who are owed payments.

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