Hip-Hop Producer DJ Shok Wins Historic $3.2 Million Judgment Against Ruff Ryders Entertainment

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Press Release


Dec 13, 2021 13:25 EST


Cassandra Spangler, Esq. Music Law, and Thomas Vandenabeele Esq. of Kellner Herlihy Getty & Friedman, LLP, announce that last week, the Supreme Court of the State of New York issued a historic ruling against renowned record label Ruff Ryders Entertainment and their affiliated subsidiaries. The case was brought by plaintiff Michael Gomez, a multi-platinum, Grammy-nominated hip-hop producer professionally known as DJ Shok, who has produced tracks for DMX, Eve, Big Pun, and other celebrated hip-hop artists during his career. The plaintiff alleged that during his tenure as an in-house producer at Ruff Ryders he went decades without receiving any royalty payments that were owed to him.

The legal battle has been playing out for 4 years, during which time Mr. Gomez has been represented by Thomas Vandenabeele, Esq., of Kellner Herlihy Getty & Friedman, LLP, as Lead Litigation Counsel and Cassandra Spangler, Esq., as Co-counsel and Gomez’s Entertainment Attorney.

“We are very happy to achieve this victory on behalf of DJ Shok,” commented Ms. Spangler. “We hope that this will help to change the longstanding practice of underpaying producers and artists in the music industry.” Spangler is a New York City-based music attorney and has been representing artists, producers, and other creators for more than a decade.

The judgment in the case awarded the plaintiff in excess of $3.2 million in damages and interest, including a rare award of punitive damages. “Mr. Gomez had the courage to speak out, and we are very pleased that the Court awarded punitive damages. We believe that this may send a strong message across the industry,” said Thomas Vandenabeele.

The suppression of artists/producers and their rights has been an ongoing problem within the music industry for quite some time. “My hope is that the precedent set in this case will inspire others to fight for what is rightfully owed to them,” said Mr. Gomez. “Maybe this will be a catalyst to change the current industry practices by serving as a warning to those who withhold payments due to artists and producers.” Record labels continue to grapple with the rapidly moving landscape they operate within, particularly with the rise of streaming services and the democratization of music distribution and publishing, which is now providing artists a previously nonexistent alternative option to being signed by a label.

Press contact: Cassandra Spangler, Esq., cassandra@cspanglermusiclaw.com

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Source: Cassandra Spangler, Esq. Music Law





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