Pop parody performer "Weird" Al Yankovic has filed a $5 million lawsuit against Sony Music Entertainment, claiming he is owed at least that much in unpaid royalties from digital record sales and YouTube views of his videos.
The 53-year-old, who rose to fame in the 1980s with his parodies of Michael Jackson and Madonna hits "Eat It" and "Like a Surgeon", is claiming that Sony Music is paying a straight royalty for download sales, rather than the agreed upon 50 percent of revenues as per his licensing contract. The download royalties were reportedly listed as sales instead of licenses, which return a larger cut to the artist -- in this case $2 million more.
Yankovic also wants the media giant to hand over a percentage of the money generated by millions of YouTube views of his videos. Every time a Weird Al Yankovic video is shown on YouTube Sony earns revenue. Google partnerships are believed to be worth $1000 to $6000 per every one million page views.
Yankovic's lawsuit follows in the footsteps of a precedent-setting suit won by rap superstar Eminem in 2010. The controversial artist sued his record company Universal Music Group for the way in which royalties for digital music downloads are calculated and reported.