A company that helped produce two songs for Alecia Moore—Pink—more than a decade ago cannot collect the royalties it says it is owed, a Manhattan appeals panel ruled Tuesday.
In a unanimous, unsigned opinion, Appellate Division, First Department Justices Peter Tom, Helen Freedman, Rolando Acosta, Richard Andrias and Rosalyn Richter wrote that the original royalties agreement between the singer and predecessor to her current record label Sony did not allow for enforcement of the claim.
Specialists Entertainment Inc. filed a complaint in 2012 alleging it was still owed more than $36,000 for working on Pink’s 2000 debut album, “Can’t Take Me Home.”
Pink had signed an agreement in 1999 with her record company providing that Specialists and another production company, Thunderstone Productions, should be paid from royalties from the songs worked on. But Sony claimed that an administrative error sent all the money to Thunderstone. Specialists sued for breach of contract.
In September 2013, Manhattan State Supreme Court Judge Saliann Scarpulla concluded that Specialists could be considered as third party beneficiaries to the agreement reached by Pink and her label.
The First Department disagreed.
“Plaintiff cannot assert a claim as a third-party beneficiary of a letter agreement between defendants Moore and Sony,” the panel wrote in Specialists Entertainment, Inc. v. Moore, 158017/2012. “The agreement, requesting and authorizing Sony to deduct a portion of royalties payable to Moore and to pay them directly to plaintiff, by its express terms, negates any intent to permit enforcement by third-parties.”
Anthony Motta, of Motta & Krents is representing Specialists Entertainment. Dechert att orneys Benjamin Rosenberg, Diane Princ and Gary Mennit represented Pink and Sony. Thomas Kjellberg, of counsel to Cowan, Liebowitz & Latman, filed an amicus brief for the Recording Industry Association of America.