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The Huffington Post  |  By Posted: 04/02/12 12:26 PM ET  |  Updated: 04/02/12 12:36 PM ET

Weird Al Yankovic Files $5 Million Lawsuit Against Sony Music

Weird Al Yankovic is fed up with Sony Music Entertainment. The parody singer filed a $5 million suit through his company Ear Booker Enterprises against Sony Music for shortchanging him on digital royalties.

According to Billboard, the complaint alleges that Sony Music is paying a straight royalty for download sales, rather than the agreed upon 50 percent of revenues per the licensing deal. The download royalties were reportedly defined as sales instead of licenses, which return a larger cut to the artist -- in this case $2 million more.

The document claims that Sony Music took duplicate recoupments from Yankovic -- charged him twice -- resulting in further underpayment of royalties. The suit also alleges that Yankovic never saw a dime from Sony Music's lawsuit settlements with peer-to-peer music sharing sites such as Napster, Kazaa and Grokster.

The lawsuit filed in Federal court in the Southern District of New York follows a recent federal class action suit against Warner Music Group by band Tower of Power that makes similar claims of underpayment of royalties.

Both Yankovic's suit and Tower of Power's class action rely on the famous 2010 appellate ruling involving Eminem. Similarly, the rapper sued his record label, Universal Music Group, for the way royalties are calculated for digital music -- whether they are considered a license or a sale.

Ultimately, the court found that digital music should be treated as a license. Like most artists, Eminem signed a contract that specifies he receives 50 percent of royalties for a license as compared to 12 percent for a sale. The Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of the lower court's decision, so the 2010 appellate ruling stands as the precedent in cases regarding digital royalties.

Aside from the issue of underpayment of royalties for downloads, Yankovic's suit also states that Sony's equity share in YouTube is directly apportionable to Yankovic's equity share for his content, such as hit song "White & Nerdy." The suit claims that Yankovic is owed a rather large piece of Sony's equity stake at $2.5 million.

The breach of contract action originated from an audit of Sony's financial records during July 2003 to December 2008. Along with damages in excess of $5 million, Yankovic also seeks a judgment against Sony requiring the payment of 50 percent of net receipts for his download and ringtone licenses.

PHOTOS: Disney Stars In Trouble:

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  • Orlando Brown

    "That's So Raven" star Orlando Brown was <a href="" target="_hplink">arrested in August 2011</a> and charged with a DUI. Cops pulled over the former Disney star for driving without a license plate. When they went in for a closer look, Brown smelled of alcohol and when given a breathalyzer test, he blew over the 0.08 BAC limit. <a href="" target="_hplink">Brown has struck a plea deal</a> that will keep him out of jail. The 23-year-old actor pled no contest and was given 36 months probation, ordered to pay a $390 fine, sentenced to a single day in jail, ordered to attend alcohol education classes and must attend 10 Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

  • Mitchel Musso

    Former "Hannah Montana" star Mitchel Musso was <a href="" target="_hplink">arrested on October 16, 2011 and charged with two counts of drunk driving</a>. The 20-year-old actor who currently stars on Disney's "Pair of Kings" and lends his voice to the Disney cartoon series "Phineas and Ferb" was pulled over after he failed to slow down for police officers who were directing traffic. When given a breathalyzer test Musso blew well above the 0.08 percent BAC limit. If convicted on both counts Musso faces a maximum of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. <a href="" target="_hplink">But as TMZ notes</a>, first-time DUI offenders in LA County aren't sentenced to jail time unless there are aggravating circumstances, which in this case there are not. The actor is due in court November 11.

  • Christina Aguilera

    Former mouseketeer, Christina Aguilera was <a href="" target="_hplink">arrested for public intoxication</a> in May 2011. The singer's boyfriend Matthew Rutler was pulled over by police who saw the car "burn rubber" and fishtail onto a street. The couple smelled of alcohol and Rutler failed his breathalyzer test, blowing 0.09 BAC. While Christina was a passenger, cops said she appeared "too drunk to care for herself and had no driver to take her home." She was arrested on suspicion of being drunk in public, so police could hold her at the station to sober up. Although she was arrested, cops said she wouldn't be prosecuted because she has no criminal intent, but the misdemeanor arrest remains on her record. <blockquote><strong>CORRECTION</strong>: This slide previously stated an incorrect BAC level for Rutler. We regret the error.</blockquote>

  • Lindsay Lohan

    Lindsay Lohan has the distinct honor of being arrested more times than any other Disney star. The actress who starred in the remake of Disney's classic "The Parent Trap" and the Lovebug reboot "Herbie: Fully Loaded," was <a href="" target="_hplink">first arrested May 26, 2007 on suspicion of driving under the influence</a> after her car struck a curb in Los Angeles. Police also reported they found a substance they believed to be cocaine at the scene. Two days later Lohan checked herself into what would be her second stint in rehab and during her stay was accused of being drunk when she crashed into a parked van in October 2005, alleges a lawsuit against her. On July 24, 2007, less than two-weeks after she left her 45-day stay at Promises, Lohan was <a href=",,20047886_20047878,00.html" target="_hplink">pulled over by police and arrested on five counts</a>, including driving under the influence of alcohol, driving on a suspended license and possession of narcotics. She heads back to rehab hours after the arrest. On August 23, the actress was charged with seven misdemeanor counts for her two DUI arrests. With a plea deal it is agreed that Lindsay will spend one day in jail, serve 10 days of community service and complete a drug-treatment program. She was also given 36 months of probation and had to complete an 18-month alcohol education program. In addition she also had to finish a three-day county coroner program that requires she talk to victims of drunk drivers and visit a morgue. After showing up late to a probationary hearing to review her cases on October 16, 2009, Lohan lands herself another year of probation tacked on to the initial 36 months, because she failed to complete the alcohol education classes. A warrant was issued for Lindsay's arrest and is ordered to post $200,000 bail after her SCRAM alcohol-monitoring ankle bracelet went off in June 2010. The next month she was <a href="" target="_hplink">sentenced to 90 days in jail and 90 days in rehab for violating her probation. </a> Lohan serves only 14 days in jail and begins her court-ordered 90 day rehab program, which she only serves 23 days of after doctors said she had done everything required of her. After <a href="" target="_hplink"> failing a drug test</a> in September 2010, a judge revoked her probation, denied her bail and sent Lindsay back to prison. Lohan's lawyers appealed the decision and had it overturned -- Lohan was released after posting $300,000 bail that day. Later that month <a href="" target="_hplink">she checks into the Betty Ford Center</a> for substance abuse rehab. In October a judge orders Lohan to stay in rehab until January for violating her probation. Just three weeks out of rehab Lohan is accused of walking out of a jewelry store with a <a href="" target="_hplink">necklace and was later charged with felony grand theft</a>. In April 2011, Lohan spends five hours in custody before posting a <a href="" target="_hplink">$75,000 bond </a>after she was <a href="" target="_hplink">sentenced to 120 days in jail</a> for violating her DUI probation by being charged with the necklace theft. <a href="" target="_hplink">In May, Lohan is sentenced to 120 days</a> for stealing the necklace, which she will serve at home, and only <a href="" target="_hplink">serves 35 days of house arrest</a>. She also got 480 hours of community service. On October 19, 2011 Lohan's <a href="" target="_hplink">probation was revoked</a> after she was kicked out of the community service program at an L.A. women's shelter. Lohan posted $100,000 bail and the judge set a hearing for November 2, to see if Lohan will serve jail time. Then on October 20, Lohan was <a href="" target="_hplink">late to morgue duty</a> and turned away. The next <a href="" target="_hplink">day she shows up early and tries to apologize</a> by buying the morgue staff lunch at In N' Out burger.

  • Shia LaBeouf

    Former "Even Stevens" star, Shia LaBeouf, was arrested at a Chicago Walgreens after he appeared drunk and refused to leave the store in November 2007. The "Transformers" actor was hit with a misdemeanor criminal trespassing charge. Those charges were later dropped by Walgreens who decided they weren't interested in pursing the case. In March 2008, a warrant was issued for the actor's arrest after he didn't show up to a hearing in relation to a ticket he received for unlawful smoking in Burbank, California. When the actor's lawyer showed up the next day to plead not guilty the warrant was recalled, and the charges later dismissed after the actor paid a $500 fine. In July 2008, Shia ended up in the hospital after he crashed his car and injured his hand. Although police determined LaBeouf was <a href="" target="_hplink">not at fault</a> for the accident, he was still <a href="" target="_hplink">charged with a DUI</a> and his license suspended for a year. In February 2011, the actor found himself in handcuffs after he got in an altercation with another bar patron and got punched in the face. Lucky for Shia no charges were filed. <a href="" target="_hplink">Most recently in October 2011</a>, the actor was involved in another bar fight in Vancouver, Canada. In video footage, the actor is repeatedly punched in the head by another bar guest. No charges were filed at this time.

  • Britney Spears

    Former member of the "Mickey Mouse Club" Britney Spears was arrested and hospitalized in January 2008 after <a href="" target="_hplink">she barricaded herself in a bathroom with her son Jayden and refused to come out.</a> The singer had refused to return her two sons to their father Kevin Federline after a court-monitored visit. Police were called and Britney was said to be babbling and incoherent, arguing with officers in a way that made no sense. After a three-hour standoff Britney was arrested, strapped to a gurney and taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where she was held for 72-hours for psychiatric for treatment and evaluation. No criminal charges were filed, but the singer <a href="" target="_hplink">lost custody</a> of her sons Jayden and Sean Preston following the incident.