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Stones Fail In Court Battle
British rock legends 'The Rolling Stones' failed in a court battle to force a record company's books to be audited as part of a dispute over alleged unpaid royalties. 

A judge at the High Court in London refused a request on behalf of remaining original members Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Charlie Watts that the accounts of Decca Music Group be examined.

Instead, Judge Nicholas Pumfrey said the disagreement should be resolved by arbitration, as set out in a 1976 agreement between the band and the record label.

The court battle centred on royalties from the greatest hits compilation "40 Licks", a top-selling double album including a series of 1960s tracks such as "Paint It Black" and "Sympathy For The Devil" to which Decca owns the rights.

The band claim they are entitled to 80 percent of all royalties from the Decca tracks on the album, an amount which could run into millions of pounds (euros, dollars), and demanded an audit of Decca's accounts to determine how much they might be paid.

All three Stones are hugely wealthy -- Jagger is worth around 180 million pounds (260 million euros, 330 million dollars), Richards marginally less -- but are also known for being extremely careful with their money.

Jagger himself has admitted to this, saying in a magazine interview last year that "those of us brought up in the '50s were taught to be frugal".

"We don't like throwing computers away as soon as they don't work -- apart from out the window in frustration. We like cars to be repaired instead of junked," he said.


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November 17, 2004

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