‘Weird Al’ Yankovic slaps Sony with $5 million lawsuit over royalties, YouTube videos


Musical funnyman “Weird Al” Yankovic isn’t laughing anymore. The parody singer-songwriter has sued Sony Music Entertainment for more than $5 million for a variety of alleged contractual breaches, and other unfair business dealings, reports CS Monitor. Sony has so far not responded to the suit, which was filed Friday in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

According to the suit, which was filed by Yankovic’s company, Ear Booker Enterprises, Sony “has incorrectly reported to Ear Booker the quantity of products sold, has incorrectly categorized those products, and has incorrectly paid Ear Booker for products for which it has accounted.”

Specifically, the suit claims that Sony double-charged Ear Booker for royalty advances; miscategorized marketing costs as production costs, which would make Ear Booker responsible for the expenses;  failure to provide receipts for billing; and other similar dishonest business practices.

In addition, Ear Booker says that Sony owes Yankovic’s company $2.5 million for Sony’s sale of YouTube shares. Prior to Google’s $1.65 billion purchase of YouTube in 2006, Sony, Universal, and Warner Music Group licensed some of its content to the video-streaming site in exchange for a portion of the company. The music labels reportedly received around $50 million when Google bought YouTube. Ear Booker claims it has a right to a portion of that money due to the popularity of Yankovic’s music videos.

In addtion, Ear Booker says Yankovic deserves a portion of Sony’s settlement with peer-to-peer file-sharing sites Napster, Kazaa, and Grokster, which settled with Sony for millions of dollars over copyright infringement.