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Wu-Tang Clan sued by ODB's widow over royalties

Wu-Tang Clan sued by ODB's widow over royalties
/ Cover Media

The Wu-Tang Clan are facing legal action from the widow of late member ODB over alleged unpaid royalties.

Ol' Dirty B**tard, real name Russell Tyrone Jones, was a founding member of the hip-hop group and passed away aged just 35 in 2004 after an accidental drug overdose.

His widow, Icelene Jones, who acts as the sole executor of his estate, is suing the group, claiming that they owe at least $1 million (£737,565) in unpaid royalties, according to Variety.

Jones filed suit at the New York Supreme Court on Tuesday, alleging Wu-Tang Clan Productions, which is owned and operated by lead member RZA, failed to pay full royalties to ODB's estate between 2011 and July 2021, when the estate received a cheque for $130,000 (£95,000).

ODB's estate also received payments in 2019 and 2020 from Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp., but the filing claims these cheques do not add up to what Jones believes the estate is owed.

Her complaint cites a 1992 recording agreement, under which ODB was to be paid 50 per cent of net earnings on the publishing of his copyrighted songs. Members of the collective were also to split 50 per cent of net earnings from the sound recordings. She also claims to be owed money for videos and merchandising, and alleges that the estate has not been granted access to accounting statements.

Jones' suit alleges breach of contract. She is seeking damages of at least $1 million, as well as interest, attorneys' fees and costs.

In addition to being bandmates, ODB and RZA were also cousins. Wu-Tang members rarely appeared on every one of their tracks, releasing various combinations of collaborations.

 

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