Springsteen Launches Countersuit Over Early Material

As expected, rocker Bruce Springsteen has launched a countersuit against a small New Jersey-based record label which issued material recorded when the Boss was still just a lowly laborer.

Pony Express Records took legal action against Springsteen last fall, charging that the artist was using his fame and influence to block the release of songs written between 1972 and 1974, as Springsteen struggled to eek out a career in the music industry.

The tracks were recorded by the singer's early manager and producer, Jim Cretecos, who claimed the copyright. Cretecos later turned the material over to Pony Express. According to the Associated Press, Springsteen's counter suit charges that the company obtained fraudulent copyrights.

The Boss is asking for $1 million in damages and demanding to have the material barred from being manufactured and sold. Thirteen of the songs are currently collected on the album, "Before the Fame," which Pony Express has made available

for mail order at a special website.

Pony Express had licensed the performances to two companies in England who were successfully sued by Springsteen last December. The singer-songwriter was awarded $800,000 in court costs and an injunction against a company called Masquerade, and a further $3 million, likely uncollectable, against a defunct company called Flute.

A lawyer for Pony Express had previously told MTV News that he didn't expect the British decision to affect the U.S. case.