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Korn in legal dispute with former drummer over SoundExchange royalties

By | Published on Tuesday 26 March 2019


Korn’s ex-drummer David Silveria is embroiled in a legal dispute with his former band over SoundExchange royalties, which he says weren’t mentioned when he reached a deal with the outfit in 2016 over his stake in their business affairs.

A founder member of the band, Silveria left in 2005, saying he wanted a quieter life. He was officially replaced in 2009. A dispute then occurred six years later when Silveria claimed that he had never formally relinquished his stake in the Korn company, and therefore he was due his share of royalties that had come in since leaving the band. A settlement was agreed in which the drummer was bought out of the company in return for a lump sum payment.

However, last year Silveria seemingly approached US collecting society SoundExchange wondering where his share was of any royalties it had collected in relation to Korn’s pre-2005 recordings. SoundExchange, of course, collects royalties from online and satellite radio services, including some personalised radio platforms, whenever said services play recorded music. It also pays 50% of any monies it collects directly to artists, even when they don’t own the copyright in any of their records.

Given SoundExchange thought it was paying all the artist royalties due on Korn’s recordings to the band – but now there was an ex-member also claiming a share – the society did what societies usually do in this scenario: it froze all artist payments on the affected recordings.

That pissed off Korn, who then sued their former drummer last month, claiming that by contacting SoundExchange and interfering with the band’s payments from the society he was in breach of his 2016 contract. Silveria has now counter-sued, saying that the 2016 deal didn’t mention SoundExchange income, which he wasn’t even aware of at the time. According to The Blast, the drummer is now demanding $750,000 in damages.

Linking to The Blast’s article about the legal spat on Facebook this weekend, Silveria wrote “yes I found out I was being stolen from”. Noting how The Blast had published his original band agreement with the rest of Korn, he went on: “Click on the link of our original partnership agreement – you can clearly read everything is split 20% all across the board”.

Keen to play down any beef with the current members of Korn, he then wrote: “This is not about the individual band members. For all I know they may have not even known about this theft … this is all about business. I only want what I’m rightfully owed and that’s it. I have no hard feelings towards any of the guys”.