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A still burning issue: dispute lingers re warehouse fire

Clearly, this is not over.

The Law Offices of Barry K. Rothman spotlights today the high-profile warehouse fire that occurred back in 2008 on a Universal Studios lot in Hollywood.

We first noted that conflagration in a firm blog post earlier in the summer. Our June 28 entry reported that “the facility contained a so-called ‘God’s List’ of master musical recordings created by legendary artists.”

The long-tenured rock group Soundgarden was one Universal Music Group client that had masters locked away in the warehouse. Like scores of other entertainment entities, it has persistently posed questions concerning precisely what was lost in the blaze.

Or not.

A federal class action lawsuit was filed earlier this year alleging that UMG executives purposefully hid key information regarding master works and subsequently inked a secret insurance deal that netted the company a large loss-linked payout. Plaintiffs want to know exactly how much money UMG received in the settlement and concerning what specific masters. They want a fair share of the proceeds.

Soundgarden has now made an additional claim following that litigation. It is demanding proof from Universal evidencing that its masters were lost in the fire. Studio principals have claimed that and stated further that the band has long known they were destroyed. The studio states that engineers and band members were able to produce music “from alternate high-quality sources,” and that Soundgarden was thus never financially harmed.

Soundgarden expresses doubts, noting that it wants to make new music from demos it believes exist but has been unable to locate.

The band also demands documents that identify all artists that lost master works and related data confirming which UMG clients received insurance money for their losses.

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