EDM superstar Deadmau5 (Joel Zimmerman) has filed a lawsuit against Play Records, the label run by Meleny “Melleefresh” Brown. Deadmau5 is claiming tens of millions of dollars in damages over unauthorized remixes and mashups that he asserts have violated among other things, his moral rights.
According to the statement of claim (read here), when Deadmau5 was just getting off the ground as an artist in 2006, he was engaged to do two remixes for Brown. Later, he signed music publishing and personal management agreements with her company.
By 2007, Deadmau5 had relocated to London and hooked up with a different management firm, which was part of an entertainment group that later joined forces with Jay Z’s Roc Nation. There, Deadmau5 experienced growing success and so he decided to sever ties with Brown. The price of doing so, after a dispute erupted, was Deadmau5 paying a sum of money and assigning Play Records ownership of his early recordings and compositions including his first hit, “Faxing Berlin.”
Now Deadmau5 has filed a lawsuit claiming that Play Records violated his moral rights by releasing music and remixes that is not to his standards.
The settlement agreement apparently also stated how Brown could use the works, and it required Deadmau5’s “prior written consent” for any “new” remix entailing the change of melody and/or lyrics. Further, the lawsuit states “the Settlement Agreement expressly provided that Deadmau5 did not waive his moral rights with respect to any so-called future remixes — if any were to be made — because by definition any future remix had not been created yet. Thus, Deadmau5 would have no way of knowing in advance whether they were objectionable or whether he would want his name disassociated with them; i.e. in order to protect his right of paternity to remain anonymous and not be associated with them.”
Now, six years later after the settlement came, Play Records has allegedly released sound recordings of remixes of Deadmau5’s early work without his approval and “not of good technical and commercial quality.” The defendant is also said to be preparing releases of other remixes and mashups.
Deadmau5 has now filed a lawsuit over this and is asserting breach of contract, infringement of moral rights and trademark claims. The latter comes because the defendant is described as using registered designs and other marks of Deadmau5’s, passing off works as his own and marketing old recordings as new ones.
Deadmau5 is asking for $10 million per “each cause of action”.
The defendant wasn’t immediately available for comment.