November 22, 2007

Paradise by the Dashboard Light

Steve Popovich, founder of Cleveland International Records, won a federal appeal upholding a jury's deicison to award him more than $5mil. after a contract dispute with Sony Music. Cleveland Int'l Records introduced the world to the artist Meat Loaf, whose "Bat Out of Hell" album has sold a reported 43 million copies worldwide since its 1977 release.

Meat Loaf was signed to Cleveland Int'l and Sony eventually acquired the rights to the album. (Epic Records > CBS > Sony.) In 1995, Popovich sued Sony for unpaid royalties and settled out of court for a reported $7mil. As part of the settlement, Sony agreed to include the Cleveland Int'l Records logo on reissues of "Bat Out of Hell". When Sony failed to include the logo, Popovich sued again. After a federal jury awarded Popovich $5mil in damages, the appellate court affirmed. Further, the appellate deciions permits Popovich to pursue, on remand, damages for possible breach by Sony outside of the original limited geographic scope of the Settlement.

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