Hip hop’s first billionaire keeps winning.
Dr. Dre has been fighting his former record label Death Row Records for nearly twenty years after accusing executives of selling his 1992 debut The Chronic online without his authorization, and then handing over a smaller portion of funds from web sales than he was legally entitled to.
He pursued more legal action against Death Row chiefs last year (2014) over continued sales of his work online and the use of some of his music on compilations.
This week U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder has granted Dre the right to collect the full amount of royalties for all future digital sales of The Chronic album. Death Row bosses will be allowed to continue selling copies of the album, but only in the formats that were available before Dre left the label in 1996 – cassette, CD, 8-track and vinyl.
In a statement obtained by Billboard.com, Dre’s lawyer Howard King writes, “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. 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.”