Megan Thee Stallion Sues Record Label Over Music Ban

Megan Thee Stallion filed for a temporary restraining order against 1501 Certified Entertainment, LLC and Carl Crawford in Harris County, Texas on Tuesday. The order was granted

By Elyse Dupre Mar 03, 2020 3:41 PMTags
Megan Thee StallionErik Voake/Getty Images for Roc Nation

Megan Thee Stallion isn't happy with her record label. 

The 25-year-old rapper filed for a temporary restraining order against 1501 Certified Entertainment, LLC and its CEO Carl Crawford in Harris County, Texas on Tuesday.

She also accused the defendants of breach of contract, common law fraud, fraudulent inducement, fraud by non-disclosure, tortious interference with prospective business relations, violation of the Deceptive Trade Practices Consumer Protection Act, negligent misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty and negligence.

In addition to the temporary restraining order, Megan is seeking a temporary and permanent injunction and a declaration that her contract is "unconscionable, unenforceable and/or void." Furthermore, she is seeking monetary damages in excess of $1 million.

According to court documents obtained by E! News, the "Hot Girl Summer" star, née Megan Pete, has accused the company and its principal of taking the "extraordinary step" of instructing the distributor of her records, 300 Entertainment, to not "release or distribute any of her new music." Per the documents, the music is scheduled to be released on March 6 and this alleged instruction, "will have a devastating impact and cause irreparable injury to [Megan's] career, for which monetary damages will in no way suffice."

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The artist also accused the defendants of trying to "embarrass and intimidate" her publicly. For instance, Megan claimed a mugshot from her arrest five years ago "was posed with the sole purpose of hurting her career." She also accused the defendants of threatening a producer who works with her with "physical harm." 

"Defendants and their agent J. Prince, who is notorious in the music industry for bullying and strong-armed tactics, publicly expressed displeasure on social media when Pete associated Roc Nation (Jay-Z's founded company) as her manager," the documents continued. "From that point onward, Pete was attacked, and threatened on social media, on information and belief, by Prince, 1501, or those acting on their behalf."

In addition, Megan claimed in the documents that she's raised concern over the "unconscionable nature" of her contract, sought to renegotiate its "entirely onerous provisions" and "been forced to resort to self-help to try to mitigate the damage to her due to the defendants' complete failure to take necessary actions" to protect her interests. For instance, she accused the defendants of failing to register her songs with the U.S. Copyright Office and failing to finalize agreements with third parties. She also alleged the defendants "fraudulently induced" her into the contract.

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In the court documents, she further claimed there's "a provision literally requiring 1501 to do nothing while taking 60 percent of recording income." She also alleged there's a provision "providing that all monies paid to or on behalf" of Megan "are recoupable from royalties payable to" Megan. According to the documents, she also alleged "there's a provision that all royalties payable to third parties"—such as producers, mixers, remixers and featured artists—"are paid solely out of" Megan's "40 percent interest."

"Defendants take the vast majority of the recording income, and Pete is left making very little for her work, although 1501 is essentially required to do nothing, and in fact is doing nothing," the documents stated. "The 60/40 split is well below industry standard. In addition, in return for Defendants' interest, they would be expected to perform standard record label functions (e.g., A & R, manufacturing, promotion, advertising, and accounting, etc.) which they are not performing, relying entirely on 300 Entertainment and Pete's manager."

According to the documents, Megan also claimed her contract requires her to grant the defendants a 50 percent copyright interest in all of the songs she writes and to grant them 100 percent administration rights so they "control her songs completely."

"No advances were paid Pete for these rights," the documents stated. "Under industry standard, Pete's royalties should be 75/25 in her favor, she should have received advances, and her royalty on publishing should not be crossed with any un-recouped balance on the master recording side."

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Furthermore, she alleged the defendants "have no publishing/administration infrastructure or knowledge" and claimed they're "nothing more than middlemen who will need to engage a true publisher/administrator (who will charge fees that Pete will be responsible for, thus diluting her share further)," per the court documents.

Megan also alleged in the court documents that the defendants control her live performance and touring rights with the contract granting 1501 exclusive rights to use her name, likeness and photos "in the exercise" of her live performances and touring activities. However, they allegedly "have no obligation to obtain any approvals" from Megan for these activities.

"Although required to do nothing in this regard, Defendants unconscionably take 30 percent of all touring monies (which is more than double than what a real touring promoter like Live Nation would take), while all advances under the Contract (i.e., for income streams other than live performance and touring activities) may be recoupable against Pete's share as the Contract does not say that advances from activities other than live performance and touring activities are uncrossed from Pete's royalties for live performances and touring activities," the court documents stated.

In addition, according to the court documents, Megan alleged the defendants control her merchandising rights but "have no obligation whatsoever to actually create or manufacture any merchandise and no obligation to get approval" from Megan of designs or merchandising items to be offered for sale "in the event 1501 opts in its sole discretion to create and manufacture any merchandise." She also claimed they take 30 percent of this money.

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A judge granted the temporary restraining order on Tuesday. According to court documents obtained by E! News, the defendants are required to "do nothing to prevent the release, distribution and sale" of Megan's new records scheduled for March 6 and to "immediately refrain from preventing distributor 300 Entertainment from releasing, distributing or selling" her new records." Furthermore, they must "refrain from threatening or posting any threatening or retaliatory social media posts or threats" against Megan and "refrain from threatening" anyone associated with her. They also must not "prevent or limit others from working" with Megan. Per the documents, the defendants also cannot "intentionally falsify, alter, spoil, hide, transfer or otherwise destroy any documents, evidence  or recordings" related to Megan, and they cannot destroy any documents relating to Megan or Roc Nation.

"We are very happy the Court granted our TRO and thrilled that the world should be able to now hear Megan's new music on March 6," Megan's attorney, Richard Busch, told E! News. "We will now proceed with the other claims set forth in the [lawsuit]."

The order will expire on March 16 at 11:59 p.m.

A hearing for the request for temporary injunction is set for March 13.

Megan also opened up about her record label in an expletive-filled social media video.

E! News has reached out to her record label for comment.