Why Ryan Leslie Has To Give Up Music Rights To Settle Lawsuit
By Ryan Velez
It may have been a while ago, but some music fans may remember back in 2010 when producer Ryan Leslie lost his laptop overseas. At the time, he thought it contained unreleased music, but upon its return, he would find this wasn't the case. Now, he’s paid something far dearer than that as an unexpected result of this: the rights to his entire music catalog, reports The Source.
How do you go from not actually losing your music to having to forfeit your rights? The answer is not paying what you owe. Right after Leslie lost his items, he put up a $1 million reward for their return. A man by the name of Armin Augstein found Ryan’s belongings and returned them to him but never received his reward as promised. Leslie’s reasoning was that since the music he wanted wasn’t on there, there was no reason to pay. Augstein was not having this result, and sued him for breaching the million dollar reward, and actually won.
A jury held Ryan Leslie accountable and ordered him to pay Augstein $1.18 million dollars in damages. Quickly afterward, Leslie filed for bankruptcy and Augstein has been fighting to get his money ever since. This finally reached a resolution of sorts a few weeks ago, when the singer/producer gave up his rights to his entire music catalog in order to settle the case. Both parties came to the agreement that Augstein will receive all interests in Leslie’s musical rights and future royalty payments. Augstein will be entitled to receive up to $538,000 from the royalties and if after six years he has not earned up to $300,000, he will continue to have access to those rights until he is paid in full. Afterwards, Ryan will then be granted back his rights to his catalog.
Considering the fact that Leslie has worked with the likes of Britney Spears, Usher, Mary J. Blige, Ne-yo, The Game, New Edition, Danity Kane, and Fabolous and more, Augstein will likely see plenty of money soon from those royalties. Let this be a lesson about watching your belongings and not being cavalier with your money, no matter who you are.