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Slash,Duff Sue Axl Over Publishing Rights


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Slash, Duff Sue Axl Over Guns N' Roses Publishing Royalties

They say he sold the rights without their consent and is pocketing the profit.

It's been over a decade since the original members of Guns N' Roses went their separate ways, but their feud is still going strong.

Slash and Duff McKagan filed a federal lawsuit in Los Angeles on Wednesday against Axl Rose, accusing the GN'R frontman of changing the publisher of the group's copyrighted songs without their consent and pocketing the royalties.

The lawsuit follows Rose's multimillion-dollar publishing deal with Sanctuary earlier this year, in which he sold the publishing rights to the GN'R back catalog. "Suffering an apparent attack of arrogance and ego ... Rose recently decided that he is no longer willing to acknowledge the contributions of his former partners and bandmates in having created some of rock's greatest hits," the lawsuit reads.

Though the Sanctuary deal was reported on by the press, Slash and Duff claim they weren't aware of the scope of Rose's dealings — which they say he "omitted and concealed" — until their expected royalty payments for the first quarter of 2005 didn't arrive in the mail. "When the ASCAP check didn't come, we called and they looked into it," McKagan's lawyer, Glen Miskel, said. "We didn't know all the facts at first."

Miskel said that only last week did they discover that Rose had notified ASCAP on or around May 26 that he was switching over the publishing from Guns N' Roses to Black Frog Music Publishing (which he owns) and Kobalt Songs Music Publishing (which is a joint venture with and handles the administration of Sanctuary's publishing). Consequently, the ASCAP check for the first quarter of 2005 — some $92,000 — went to Rose and "his accomplices" instead, the lawsuit contends.

"Rose's actions were malicious, fraudulent and oppressive, and undertaken in conscious disregard of [slash and Duff's] property rights," the lawsuit reads. They're seeking damages for fraud, copyright infringement and breach of fiduciary duty, among other things.

Sanctuary could not be reached for comment by press time.

— Jennifer Vineyard


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Axl's lawyer responds to suit:

AXL ROSE's Attorney: 'Clerical Error' Is To Blame For All Royalties Being Sent To Singer - Aug. 26, 2005

Axl Rose's attorney has told the Los Angeles Times that "a clerical error" by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is to blame for all GUNS N' ROSES-related publishing royalties being sent to the singer, thereby bypassing the band's other partners, Slash and Duff McKagan.

Slash and Duff, otherwise known as Saul Hudson and Michael McKagan, are suing band leader Rose fraudulently naming himself sole administrator of the band's copyrights, jilting his former partners out of their shares of revenue that Hudson and McKagan's lawyer said totals about $500,000 a year.

The suit accuses Rose of "suffering an apparent attack of arrogance and ego" and says "he is no longer willing to acknowledge the contributions of his former partners and bandmates in having created some of rock's greatest hits."

But Howard Weitzman, Rose's lawyer, told the Los Angeles Times that the singer had asked to receive only his portion of royalties, and that the overpayment was due to a clerical error by the society. Weitzman said Rose had returned the extra funds to the organization.

Last year, Hudson and McKagan filed their first suit against Rose. This one alleged that the singer had wrongly claimed ownership of the group's assets after he quit GUNS N' ROSES in 1995. It also claimed that Rose had blocked Hudson and McKagan from licensing the band's recordings to movie producers, "costing the GUNS N' ROSES partnership millions of dollars to date." The case is pending.


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