Chuck D (real name Carl Ridenhour) is suing music publisher Michael Closter and his Reach Global music publishing company. According to Billboard, the Public Enemy mastermind alleges they used false registration and orchestrated a fraudulent plan to obtain ownership interests in 28 musical compositions he wrote and/or co-wrote.
In October 2001, Closter approached Chuck about forming a music publishing company to administer musical compositions the Prophets Of Rage MC had recently reacquired from Def Jam Recordings, Public Enemy’s former label. Together, they formed Terrordome Music Publishing, each contributing $500, along with a third investor.
As outlined in their agreement, Closter’s company Reach was entitled to 10 percent of gross profit from Terrordome publishing and licensing deals, while other proceeds from the company were split 42 percent for Closter’s Reach Global and 58 percent for Chuck’s Bring the Noize Music (BTNM) company.
View this post on Instagram#Repost @lorrieboo ・・・ 2nd lawsuit filed against Reach Global. My comments to Billboard below. "We stand by our claims," Boula, Chuck D’s manager said in a statement. "We spent three years researching and gathering documentation before we decided to file multiple lawsuits against Reach. We also closely monitored Flavor Flav’s 2017 lawsuit against Reach, which had many similar claims. Ultimately, Reach settled with Flavor for an undisclosed amount and the settlement was sealed. We are confident that we will be triumphant."
Only recently did Chuck discover Terrordome had actually acquired ownership of his copyrights instead of just functioning as the publishing and licensing administrator.
The lawsuit says Closter registered the songs Chuck wrote or co-wrote after 2012 with the copyright office in the name of Terrordome without Chuck’s knowledge. As a result, Closter has collected “the illicit profits” at Chuck’s expense.
Closter’s attorney Larry Iser blames the lawsuit on Chuck’s new management, explaining Chuck has been earning millions through this “very successful business relationship” and has only taken issue with the agreement over the last several months.
“In his latest frivolous court filing, Carlton Ridenhour (Chuck D) alleges that an entity in which he has a 58 percent ownership interest, Terrordome Music Publishing, wrongfully filed copyright registrations on 28 compositions he wrote,” Iser said in a statement. “Notably, Mr. Ridenhour did not sue his entity Terrordome (the entity that filed the registrations) rather, he continues his pattern of harassment by litigation against Michael Closter and Reach Global.”
Iser went on to point out Chuck voluntarily signed the agreement 18 years ago with a lawyer present.
“They were signed at the manager’s house in Los Angeles,” he continued. “Since that time, Mr. Ridenhour enjoyed a positive and very successful business relationship through his company Terrordome, reaping millions of dollars in royalties and hundreds of thousands of additional dollars to cover his expenses.
“Not once did Mr. Ridenhour ever express frustration in his business dealings with Mr. Closter. Now, Mr. Ridenhour has new management that is seeking to intimidate Mr. Closter into giving up his minority interest in Terrordome by filing repetitive, baseless lawsuits. Mr. Closter intends to defend himself vigorously, and we look forward to proving the validity of his agreements with Mr. Ridenhour.”
Chuck’s manager Lorrie Boula touched on Flavor Flav’s own 2017 lawsuit against Reach Music, which also named Eastlink Productions, producer Gary “G-Wiz” Rinaldo, SLAMjamz Records, Sounddome Entertainment, Inc., manager Clifton “Greg” Johnson, Xecutive Entertainment and Chuck himself as defendants.
“We stand by our claims,” she said in a statement. “We spent three years researching and gathering documentation before we decided to file multiple lawsuits against Reach. We also closely monitored Flavor Flav’s 2017 lawsuit against Reach, which had many similar claims. Ultimately, Reach settled with Flavor for an undisclosed amount and the settlement was sealed. We are confident that we will be triumphant.”
A hearing is set for November 25.