Country singer Tim McGraw is being sued by Curb Records for copyright infringement.
The record label filed a complaint Monday alleging that McGraw’s most recent album, Two Lanes of Freedom, was recorded while he was still under contract with Curb. However, at the time the album was completed, McGraw was signed to a new label, Big Machine Records.
McGraw initially signed with Curb in 1997 and released five studio albums with the label. His 2012 album Emotional Traffic was his last with Curb, and the label filed a breach of contract lawsuit against McGraw in May 2011 alleging that he had recorded the album too early prior to its delivery “in a transparent tactic to attempt to fulfill his contractual recording commitment to Curb prematurely in breach of the recording agreement.”
The suit alleged that McGraw had begun recording the album “in 2008 or before,” which violated the terms of his agreement with Curb that each new album would be recorded “no earlier than 12 months and no later than 18 months” after the delivery of the previous album.
McGraw filed a countersuit against the label seeking advance payment and recording-fund reimbursement and unspecified damages. In November 2011, about six months after the McGraw and Curb filed their respective lawsuits, a judge granted McGraw permission to record music with another label. The court concluded that McGraw recording with a different label did not cause “irreparable harm” to Curb. The decision was upheld by a Tennessee appeals court in September 2012.
McGraw signed to Big Machine on May 21, 2012, and Two Lanes of Freedom was released on February 5, 2013.
Curb is alleging that McGraw recorded part of the album in November 2011 and the rest in April 2012 — before Emotional Traffic had been delivered to the label. The label is also alleging that a 2001 settlement required McGraw to produce a greatest hits album that was never delivered. That would mean Curb is entitled to a fifth and sixth album, and the company is contending that Two Lanes of Freedom belongs to them.
“Not only has Curb Records been deprived of the exclusive rights to exploit (Two Lanes of Freedom), but it is also damaged because of (the album’s) release,” the suit says.
The record label is seeking lost profits, compensatory and punitive damages, and diminution in the value of its property from McGraw and Big Machine.
Tim McGraw‘s countersuit against Curb is still pending.