Ex-Ramone Wants to Sedate Digital Sales
Richard "Richie Ramone" Reinhardt filed a lawsuit on Friday, demanding $900,000 in royalties for songs purchased on the Internet by fans.
The Ramones, considered by many to be the founding fathers of the punk rock movement, helped define the harder side of late 1970s and early 1980s rock and roll. The group formed in New York in 1974 and despite several lineup changes, played strongly and toured the world for the next 22 years.
Three of the four original members of the band, Johnny, Joey, and Dee Dee, have since passed away. However, their music still commands a cult following and lives on through continuing album sales and new availability through the various digital download services.
Named in the suit are several online music retailers, including Wal-Mart, Apple, and RealNetworks. In addition, Reinhardt is suing the management and the estate of the band's lead guitarist John "Johnny Ramone" Cummings. The drummer played with the band from 1983 to 1987 and wrote six songs.
His songs included "Smash You," "Somebody Put Something in My Drink," "Human Kind," "I'm Not Jesus," "I Better Know Now," and "(You) Can't Say Something Nice."
In the suit, Reinhardt claimed that there was no agreement to sell the songs digitally, and that he had not fully signed over the rights to the songs he produced. He is also seeking an injunction to prevent the future digital distribution of his work.
Reinhardt is not the original drummer for the band. The first drummer, Tommy Ramone, moved into a production role with the group and was replaced by New York punk drummer Marky Ramone (nee Marc Bell). Reinhardt filled in for Bell who took a break from the band in the mid-80's.
Reinhardt had already filed a lawsuit in New York state court where he complained that he was not receiving a fair share of royalties. This new action was filed in federal court. The band's management and representatives for Reinhardt attempted to negotiate a settlement, but the federal lawsuit was filed after talks broke down.
Representatives for the band and the various music services named in the suit either had no immediate comment or could not be reached for comment as of press time.