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LEGAL BATTLE OVER BURNED MASTERS HEATS UP

UMG on Tuesday issued a strongly worded statement in response to the amended complaint against the company filed on 8/16 by attorneys representing plaintiffs Soundgarden; Tom Whalley, trustee of the Afeni Shakur Trust; Jane Petty; and Steve Earle, “individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated.” Hole, the fifth original plaintiff, was dropped from the amended complaint, “based upon UMG’s representations that none of Hole’s masters was destroyed (subject to confirmation).” The amended complaint followed UMG’s motion to dismiss to suit.

At issue are damages to the plaintiffs’ music archives as a result of the 2008 fire on the NBC/Universal Studios lot that destroyed an as-yet-undetermined number of master recordings.

“Over a month ago, without even knowing if the 2008 fire on the NBC/Universal Studios lot affected their clients, plaintiffs’ attorneys rushed to pursue meritless legal claims,” the statement begins. “UMG’s 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. Even though our work is not yet complete, we have already determined that original masters for many of the artists named in the lawsuit were not lost in the 2008 fire. We will not be distracted from our focus on providing our artists with full transparency even as the plaintiffs’ attorneys continue to pursue these baseless claims.”

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