nina-simone

*The Nina Simone estate and Sony are at it again. We’re talking business partners who just can ‘t seem to get along.

It seems that 80 of Simone’s albums have been added to iTunes and other digital venues without authorization, according to court papers.

Just when things seemed to be on the right track because of an agreement both parties signed last year, one side is alleging that Sony Music is now the proud owner of “one of the largest pirates in the recorded music industry in America.”

That “pirate” company just happens to be Orchard, a distributor of independent recordings which feeds tunes to Apple’s iTunes store, Google Play and Amazon.com, among others. Sony bought Orchard in a $200 million deal in March, reports Billboard:

As previously covered, Simone rights have been the subject of extensive litigation over the years — especially between Steven Ames Brown, an attorney who represented Simone, and Andrew Stroud, Simone’s former husband, manager and producer. In the midst of the fighting, Sony got involved because its predecessor RCA had contracts with the singer that date back to 1966.

Last October, Sony Music, Brown and the Simone estate reached a deal at a settlement conference, but two weeks ago, Sony Music filed a claim in court to rescind the agreement because the other parties allegedly didn’t lived up to their side of the bargain. Among other things, Sony said that Brown was taking the position that only reproduction rights had been given to Sony, potentially limiting its exploitation of the singer’s music.

On Wednesday, Brown and the Simone estate hit back with copyright infringement claims against Sony and Orchard over more than 80 albums of recorded Nina Simone performances that have been uploaded to digital outlets without authorization.

It looks like Brown is flat out saying that Orchard obtained some bootlegs of Nina Simone performances and that Sony has decided to look the other way and “not see anything.”

Yes, it’s complicated and messy. You can read the rest of this story at Billboard.