Kanye West Isn't Allowed to Retire From Making Music, According to EMI Contract
Record deals are a choice.
New details about Kanye West’s deal with EMI has leaked. For the last couple of weeks, Kanye West has been battling with EMI, his publishing company, and Roc-A-Fella, his record label, over unpaid royalties and ownership of his catalog. The Hollywood Reporter was able to obtain West’s complaint against EMI, and it reveals some telling details.
The most interesting thing found in the contract is a stipulation that West signed in 2003 saying that he isn’t allowed to retire from making music.
Here is what the document says:
You (Mr. West) hereby represent and warrant that to [EMI] that You will, throughout the Term as extended by this Modification, remain actively involved in writing, recording and producing Compositions and Major Label Albums, as Your principle occupation. At no time during the Term will you seek to retire as a songwriter, recording artist or producer or take any extended hiatus during which you are not actively pursuing Your musical career in the same basic manner as You have pursued such career to date. (The preceding representation shall not be deemed to prevent You from taking a vacation of limited duration.)
West’s lawyers are saying that the portion of the contract should be invalid because of the California Labor Code section 2855, which states that an employer can’t tie up an employee for more than seven years:
It matters only whether the services began more than seven years ago. There can be no dispute that this happened here. The seven-year period ended under this contract on October 1st, 2010. For more than eight years thereafter — more than double the maximum seven-year period California law allows — EMI has enforced rights in violation of California law, depriving Mr. West of the ‘breathing period’ that California law mandates.
In the lawsuit, West not only wants freedom but ownership of his catalog after October 2010 (Basically My Dark Twisted Fantasy and beyond.)
Source: The Hollywood Reporter