Dr. Dre Wins Court Battle Over Digital Sales of “The Chronic”

Judge orders label to pay the hip hop great for online sales of his debut album.

Posted: 04/20/2011 12:24 PM EDT
Filed Under Dr. Dre

Dr. Dre

A federal judge ruled that the new owners of Death Row Records do not reserve the rights to digitally sell Dr. Dre’s classic album The Chronic.  

Last year, the super-producer sued WIDEawke Death Row Records, the new incarnation of the infamous west coast label, for selling digital copies of his seminal debut album and other songs without proper permission. 

Dre co-founded Death Row Records in 1991 alongside Suge Knight, but left five years later as a result of infighting. 

According to the Associated Press, Dre’s lawyers presented the original 1996 exit agreement with the label. The document states that the west coast legend, who know heads Aftermath Entertainment, is entitled to receive 18 percent of the royalties on music he created while still with the label and that it can only be sold in the forms it was sold in back then- CD, cassette, vinyl and 8-track. 

“For years, Death Row Records forgot about Dre when they continued to distribute his music digitally and combined his hits with weaker Death Row tracks in an attempt to elevate the stature of their other artists,” Howard King, Dre’s attorney, told the Associated Press. “We are gratified that the federal court has unambiguously declared that Death Row has no right to engage in such tactics, and must hold all proceeds from these illicit distributions in trust for our client.”

Though the label can sell Dre’s music digitally, if they so choose, the new ruling requires them to give the doctor 100 percent of all proceeds from online sales. 

(Photo: Rob Kim/Retna Ltd.)

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