The veteran heavyweights have been hit with a breach-of-contract suit by Warner Music
US outfit Avenged Sevenfold have found themselves embroiled in legal proceedings over an alleged breach of contract with their record label, Warner Music, after the veteran act attempted to sever ties with the company under California's 'seven-year rule', it has been confirmed.
Following early reports of the lawsuit that has been brought against them by the label — in which Warner are reportedly seeking to nullify Avenged Sevenfold's attempt to leave, as well as obtain damages and "restitution and disgorgement of all gains and benefits" received by the outfit, interest, legal fees and "other relief" — the band released a statement of their own on their website, explaining the motivations behind the decision to part with Warner, including high executive turnover and an implied lack of attention from the label.
"We recently exercised our rights under California law and notified Warner Bros. Records we would no longer record for them," the band wrote in their statement. "Few of the executives who have been integral to our continued success are still at the label, and we love and are grateful to them for their hard work.
"However, since we signed with the label, Warner Bros. has had three different regimes, multiple heads of marketing, and none of the senior management or A&R executives who were at the company and responsible for signing us are still there.
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"Whatever the activity, it takes a full team to compete, and we no longer know most of our teammates."
It's a message that had previously been iterated by the band's attorney, who Metal Injection quotes as saying that the label has undergone "multiple regime changes that led to dramatic turnover at every level of the company, to the point where no one on the current A&R staff has even a nodding relationship with the band", thus leading to their desire to part ways with Warner.
The seven-year rule — also known as the De Havilland Law — falls under Section 2855 of the California Labor Code and prescribes parties the right to leave a personal service contract, under certain mitigating circumstances, after seven (calendar) years have passed. It is under this stipulation that Avenged Sevenfold are attempting to leave their contract.
However, Warner obviously sees the situation differently, explaining to Billboard that — from its perspective — amid "significant" financial support from the label, the band had not given sufficient notice of their intention to leave and, besides, still owe the company an additional live CD/DVD release, which Billboard reports has already been funded by the label.
Contrary to an earlier report from Billboard (since amended) that claimed the band had, at one stage, renegotiated their contract with the label, Avenged Sevenfold said in their statement that they have "never renegotiated" their original agreement.
If there's any silver lining to be taken away from the growing cloud over Avenged Sevenfold, it's that — if nothing else — we stand to get a new album out of it.
"Most importantly, we want our fans to know this: we are in the middle of writing a record we cannot wait for you to hear," the band wrote. "We expect to go into the studio very soon, and look forward to releasing our new album later this year."