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Lawsuits Expected Over Master Recordings Lost In 2008 Universal Studios Fire

Posted by on June 18, 2019 at 12:15 pm

Universal Studios suffered a fire in 2008 that reportedly only destroyed the park's King Kong attraction. Then last week it came to light that about 500,000 song titles owned by Universal were also lost in the fire, a topic that Universal actively avoided at the time of the incident. These titles include ones from artists such as Guns N’ Roses, Mary J. Blige, No Doubt, Nine Inch Nails, Snoop Dogg, Nirvana, Beck, Sheryl Crow, Tupac Shakur, Eminem, and way more. Unsurprisingly, there are likely lawsuits coming Universal's way.

According to a recent report from the Los Angeles Times, attorney Howard King of King, Holmes, Paterno & Soriano said they currently have clients preparing to sue as early as next week.

“This has a potentially huge impact on their future, coupled with the rather disturbing fact that no one ever told them that their intellectual property may have been destroyed. There is a significant amount of discussion going on, and there will be formal action taken."

King would not specify how many artists will be suing, but ballparked it as "more than 10 but fewer than 100." Not exactly helpful, but still a pretty substantial amount of lawsuits no matter what that number ends up being. Ed McPherson of McPherson LLP also said in the article that he's heard of more lawsuits.

"It is inconceivable to me that the largest record label [group] in the world could be in this situation, with masters going back to the 1940s, which are irreplaceable, and they did not put them in a vault that’s fireproof or otherwise tamper-proof. It just blows my mind."

Regardless of how this all turns out, history has been permanently lost.

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