Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s Estate Sues Wu-Tang Clan Over $1M in Unpaid Royalties

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Ol' Dirty Bastard estate sues Wu-TangOl' Dirty Bastard estate sues Wu-Tang Photo Credit: Zach Korb / CC by 2.0

Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s estate is suing the Wu-Tang Clan production company for unpaid royalties over the last decade.

The late rapper’s widow has filed a breach of contract lawsuit against the production company. The suit alleges that the company refuses to pay royalties and publishing income to the ODB estate for ten years.

Then ten-page complaint sees ODB widow Icelene Jones asking for damages of $1 million plus interest. Wu-Tang Productions owned by Wu-Tang member Robert ‘RZA’ Diggs, “has willfully refused to compensate or provide accounting records to the estate of Ol’ Dirty Bastard, despite being contractually obligated.”

“The estate will randomly receive partial checks such as one sent for $130,000 in July of 2021 from Wu-Tang Productions. But without financial records, we have no indication of the exact amount the estate is still owed,” the complaint continues. “It is crucial to understand that ODB’s widow and administrator of the estate, Icelene Jones, has been requesting these financial records for years and has a legal obligation to do so.”

The complaint says the ODB estate received payments from Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp. in 2019 and 2020. But those combined payments represent only a small percentage of amounts payable to the estate under the recording agreement.

ODB signed an exclusive recording agreement with Wu-Tang Productions in 1992 that promised the artists a 50% share of net royalties and advances related to their sound recordings. ODB also granted Wu-Tang Productions permission to exploit his co-publishing rights and “name, portraits, pictures, likeness, and biographical material” for merchandising opportunities in exchange for a 50% cut of earnings on his copyrights and image.

“Despite its repeated efforts and requests, the estate has been unable to obtain payments and accountings from the defendant under the recording agreement for the sale of Wu-Tang Clan recordings and ODB recordings since at least 2011,” the complaint reads.

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