The Public Enemy rapper is also suing for fraud and conversion.
Chuck D has filed a publishing lawsuit in federal court against a music publisher who he claims took copyright ownership of 28 songs he recently made without his approval.
In a report from Billboard, D (real name Carlton Ridenhour) filed the lawsuit on Oct 15 against Michael Closter and his Reach Global music publishing company. In it, he claimed that Closter of using “false registration and orchestrated a fraudulent scheme to obtain ownership interests in the musical compositions written and co-written” by the Public Enemy rapper. Among some of the songs listed include Common‘s “Black America Again” and Prophets of Rage‘s “Counteroffensive” and “Fired a Shot.”
The situation began back in October 2001 when Closter suggested to D that they form a music publishing company, which led to the creation of Terrordome Music Publishing. Through their agreement, Closter’s company Reach was entitled to 10% of from Terrordome publishing and licensing deals. Closter and D also had a split for proceeds made through Terrordome: the former’s Reach Global would receive 42% while the latter’s Bring the Noize Music (BTNM) company would receive 58%.
However, D didn’t realize until February 2019 that Terrordome acquired ownership of his copyrights, with Closter allegedly registering the songs Ridenhour wrote or co-wrote after 2012 in the name of Terrordome. The suit goes on to state that because of Closter’s 42% interest in Terrordome, he has received “the illicit profits of which Ridenhour has been deprived.”
“Chuck D, who I have been friends with for 25 years, could have easily met and spoken with me to discuss any issues of concern. Instead, apparently at the advice of his ‘new team’ that surrounds him, he has allowed lawsuits to be filed on his behalf, which are littered with false and easily disprovable claims,” Closter said. “Chuck has received millions in dollars in royalties, based on legally binding agreements, and nothing has been done without Chuck’s knowledge. Since Chuck apparently believes that litigation is the path to go, we shall litigate and vigorously defend ourselves.”
D’s manager, Lorrie Boula, spoke on the lawsuit, saying in a statement:
“We stand by our claims. We spent three years researching and gathering documentation before we decided to file multiple lawsuits against Reach. We also closely monitored Flavor Flav’s 2017 lawsuit against Reach, which had many similar claims. Ultimately, Reach settled with Flavor for an undisclosed amount and the settlement was sealed. We are confident that we will be triumphant.”