Dr. Dre Wins Chronic Royalties Lawsuit

Dre filed lawsuit against WIDEawake/Death Row last year, claiming nonpayment of royalties by his former label.

[artist id="1061"]Dr. Dre[/artist] has bested Death Row Records once again. The legendary hip-hop producer and rapper has won a lawsuit he brought against WIDEawake/Death Row for selling digital copies of his classic album The Chronic without his permission.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder ruled that Dre (born Andre Young) is entitled to 100 percent of the royalties from digital sales of his debut album, according to The Associated Press. The Compton native sued his former label last year (WIDEawake Entertainment purchased the then bankrupt Death Row’s assets in 2009), citing that he had not been paid any royalties from sales of The Chronic since 1996, when he left the label. In the lawsuit, Dre claimed that the new owners re-issued The Chronic and a greatest hits collection without his permission.

“For years, Death Row Records forgot about Dre when they continued to distribute his music digitally and combined his hits with weaker Death Row tracks in an attempt to elevate the stature of their other artists,” Dr. Dre’s lawyer Howard King said in a statement. “We are gratified that the federal court has unambiguously declared that Death Row has no right to engage in such tactics, and must hold all proceeds from these illicit distributions in trust for our client.”

Dr. Dre’s batting average in the courts continues to rise. In March, a lawsuit brought against the “I Need a Doctor” artist and organizers of the Up in Smoke Tour was dismissed by the Michigan Supreme Court.

Dr. Dre and Suge Knight founded Death Row Records in 1992, shortly after the rapper/producer left N.W.A., and released The Chronic by the end of the year. But Dre walked away from Death Row Records in 1996 and started Aftermath Entertainment. Aftermath has since found great success, with Eminem and 50 Cent its two most prolific, and multi-platinum-selling, artists.

It was also recently announced by Chrysler (who already counts Slim Shady as a pitchman) that Dr. Dre will be appearing with Ndamukong Suh of the NFL’s Detroit Lions in an ad campaign for the automobile maker.