The Alan Parsons Project Scrapbook

A series of articles, collected over the years by Jon Reddick

Arista Files $45M Suit Against Parsons Project

by Richard M. Nusser

NEW YORK - Arista Records is suing its top selling AOR act, The Alan Parsons Project, for $45 million in U.S. District Court here, claiming the act is trying to break its contract by employing a variation of "The Sicilian Defense," a classic chess ploy.

Indeed, tapes submitted by Alan Parsons and his collaborator, Eric Woolfson, March 5, ostensibly to satisfy contractual obligations were titled "The Sicilian Defense." The tapes were deemed "unmarketable" by Arista which says in the suit that company officials did find them "amusing" however.

"The Sicilian Defense" is described by chess experts as a "sharp opening move" involving "unimportant" pieces with three pawns advancing in a gambit that allows for a subsequent attack.

Arista says the move is "a device to stimulate renewal of discussion" between the label and the act which it says has been trying to renegotiate certain parts of their contract. That contract began in 1976 and has been periodically amended. The label says the act also owes it more than $500,000 in recouped advances which were due in May 1980.

According to the suit, Woolfson and Parsons have declared that by refusing "The Sicilian Defense" tapes, Arista has breached the contract, and therefore The Alan Parsons Project is now free to negotiate with other companies for recording and publishing rights. Careers Music, Inc., an Arista publishing wing, is also a plaintiff in the action.

The label claims that Parsons and Woolfson were scheduled to turn over a master recording Feb. 21 to satisfy contractual demands. Around that time, however, the label was also refusing to make changes in the artists' contract as requested by the act and the suit clearly implies that the chess metaphor was them employed as a bargaining chip.

Arista says that the contract specifies that the label "has the right to refrain from manufacturing and selling records" submitted by the defendants if they are deemed by the label to be unsatisfactory "for the manufacture and sale of phonograph records."

"Upon the basis of experience with defendants, the reason given for their purported termination of their agreements with plaintiffs was not bona fide and defendants have their demands for change in their agreements with Arista. Careers and Ariola were refused." Ariola is Arista and Career's corporate parent.

In asking for the sum of $45 million, Arista says that Woolfsongs Ltd., the corporate entity under which the Alan Parsons Project operates, still owes it five master recordings plus three additional masters at Arista's option, under terms of their contract.

The label seeks both temporary and permanent injunctions against any attempt by Woolfsongs to offer its services as songwriter, composer or performer to others. In certain cases, as spelled out in the artists' contract, this injunction would also be applied to Woolfsongs' services as producer.

General Articles
  1. Arista Files $45m Suit Against Parsons Project
  2. Arista, Careers Sue Parsons, Woolfson for Contract Breach
  3. Will Royalty Hassle Remove Parsons' CDs From Market?
  4. Arista Injunction Locks Up Parsons Project's Music
  5. Parsons LP Promo Uses Non-Tour Trip
  6. Parsons' Latest Project -- 'Stereotomy': Wide-Range Personality
  7. The Alan Parsons Project - The Essence of Studio Rock
  8. Alan Parsons: When Producer Becomes Star
  9. 'Try Anything': The Return Of A Friendly Card
  10. From the songbook "The Best of the Alan Parsons Project
  11. Parsons Knows
  12. Miscellaneous Quotes
  1. Tales of Mystery And Imagination (1)
  2. Tales of Mystery And Imagination (2)
  3. I Robot (1)
  4. I Robot (2)
  5. Pyramid
  6. Eve
  7. Ammonia Avenue

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