Dr. Dre won a victory in court on Tuesday (April 21), when a judge ruled that the latest incarnation of Death Row Records does not have the rights to sell his classic album, The Chronic, digitally.
According to Billboard, U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder ruled that the hip-hop mogul has received far less money than he is due from online sales of the 1992 album, which is widely considered a classic and helped launch the career of Snoop Dogg.
While it doesn’t halt the digital sales of Dre’s music, the ruling does entitle him to receive 100 percent of the proceeds of online sales.
Dre sued WIDEawke Death Row Records in 2014, claiming the company was improperly selling The Chronic digitally and using his music on compilation albums without his permission.
“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,” Dre’s attorney Howard King wrote in a statement to the AP. “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.”
When Dre left Death Row Records in 1996, both sides made an agreement that he’d receive 18 percent royalties on his music created while at Death Row, while giving him authority over how the songs were used. It also stated that WIDEawake can only sell Dre’s music in the format it appeared in before the deal, which meant it could only appear in four formats: CD, cassette, vinyl and 8-Track.
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