Sony Fights Incubus Lawsuit With Suit Of Its Own

Company says rock band still owes it four more albums under 1996 contract.

A week after Incubus sued Sony Music for not releasing them from their recording contract, Sony has filed a countersuit in an attempt to keep the group with the label for another four records.

Sony's lawsuit, filed Tuesday in New York, states that under a 1996 contact the company clearly owns the rights to seven albums, only three of which have been recorded. It claims that the label has made a major investment in Incubus and could lose "tens of millions of dollars" if the band is freed from its contact.

Incubus' manager, Steve Rennie, said the move from Sony was not unexpected and that the band was in negotiations with the label for eight months before filing suit.

On February 6, Incubus filed suit against Sony, claiming that under California Labor Code Section 2855 the band will be free to leave the label in July since it will have been with Sony for more than seven years, the maximum time allowed for personal service contracts (see "Incubus Sue To Get Out Of Recording Contract").

Sony's suit claims Incubus' argument is invalid since the group's contract specifies that all legal disputes must be settled in New York court, and New York does not have a statute limiting artists to seven-year contacts. Sony called Incubus' suit "a negotiation ploy designed to increase their bargaining power against Sony and gain an unfair advantage on a renegotiation of the recording contract." The Sony suit seeks to stop Incubus from pursuing their case in California and also asks for attorney fees and other unspecified costs.