Band members also named in suit, royalty $ disputed
Courtney Love has sued UMG Recordings, asking that the company be barred from releasing any music by Nirvana, the band created by her late husband Kurt Cobain, and that the masters of all Nirvana’s music be returned to her. Suit also claims that UMG has failed to account for $3.1 million in royalties.
Also sued are Krist Novoselic and David Grohl, the other two members of Nirvana. Love alleges that they threatened to destroy Nirvana studio recordings and to authorize release to UMG, without her consent, of a boxed set of songs written by Cobain.
Love and her band Hole are embroiled in their own lawsuit with Vivendi Universal, the parent company of UMG. She was sued earlier this year by U for refusing to record further albums for the company.
In her countersuit, she contends that she originally signed with Geffen Records because of its unique expertise; once the label was sold to a conglom, the contract became void.
The new suit similarly alleges that Nirvana signed with Geffen because it wanted a small label that would support its vision. Geffen was sold to MCA Records in 1990.
Seagram acquired MCA/ Universal in 1995 and folded its various record labels into UMG. In 1999, Interscope, a division of UMG, was assigned Geffen’s contractual obligations. The suit contends that the closure of Geffen’s offices renders the Nirvana agreement void.
In the lawsuit filed Friday in L.A. Superior Court, Love, on behalf of Cobain’s estate and their child Frances Bean Cobain, also alleges that she signed a series of amendments to the Geffen agreement after Cobain’s death, when she was overwrought and distraught.
The amendments gave UMG the right to issue a boxed set of Nirvana’s recordings. Grohl and Novoselic also signed as partners in Nirvana. The suit contends Nirvana was the creation of Cobain and was never a partnership. It asks the court to rescind the contract.
Love is represented by Barry Cappello. He also is handling Love’s other lawsuit against Universal.