UPDATE: Tuesday, November 23 at 5:55 p.m. EST
A Day To Remember have released the following statement regarding their lawsuit win against Victory Records.
"As many of you know, more than 5 years ago we filed a lawsuit against Victory Records seeking freedom and resolution on several issues we had with them. For the past 2 weeks we have been in court arguing our case. Yesterday, the jury came back with a unanimous verdict in the trial granting us that freedom and resolution. Thank you to the fan base for supporting us through this difficult time, we couldn’t have done this without you. This isn’t just a victory for us but also a victory for every band wronged over the years. Right doesn’t always win, but yesterday it did."
ORIGINAL POST: Tuesday, November 23 at 3:21 p.m. EST
After a five-year legal battle, an Illinois jury declared that Victory Records must pay A Day To Remember $4 million in unpaid royalties.
According to Law 360, after a two-week jury trial, along with a day and a half of deliberations, an eight-person jury largely favored the band in a suit that started about five years ago.
When asked about the verdict, bassist Josh Woodard told law360.com it was: “Incredible, a little surreal, like you can breathe finally.”
The legal trouble began in 2011, when the band first sued Victory Records for a breach of contract. That contract required the band to release five albums under their label, however, the label argued that ADTR left Victory before fulfilling that commitment. The record label said the band only recorded three of the five required albums: For Those Who Have Heart, Homesick and What Separates Me From You. They said the remaining records consisted of live performances, re-releases and bonus tracks, which didn't fit their stipulations.
The jury determined that a few disputed recordings—the band’s two filmed concerts released on iTunes—counted as albums in order to fulfill the band’s five record contract with the label. They also hit Victory with $4 million for unpaid royalties from digital download and merchandise sales.
In addition, the jury granted ADTR the composition rights to its songs, while giving sound recording rights to Victory, meaning the label can continue to sell the band’s albums while paying royalties, but the band members have the right to license the music.
In a statement made by Victory back in August, they described the situation from their point of view.
"Victory Records has issued a detailed response to a recent article in Kerrang! Magazine referencing the litigation filed against it by the band A Day To Remember. Victory Records is compelled to provide the following information to the public, specifically in response to untrue statements made by band leader Jeremy McKinnon. Victory did not file this lawsuit, A Day To Remember did so in order to avoid their remaining recording commitments to Victory. In fact, Victory was blindsided by the lawsuit that the band began to surreptitiously prepare as early as 2010.
The core issue in the lawsuit is how many “Albums” A Day To Remember delivered under its agreement with Victory Records. Not once before filing the lawsuit did ADTR claim to Victory or to the public that they had satisfied their 5-Album recording commitment. They never asserted that Victory’s efforts concerning the marketing, promotion and distribution of the albums was anything less than stellar. During the years ADTR considered itself a Victory artist, they never complained about royalties.
Including the recent article in Kerrang!, virtually every press outlet that has covered ADTR’s album releases since 2006 have reported the number of full length studio albums ADTR released in total - this includes the three albums released by Victory (2007’s For Those Who Have Heart, 2009’s Homesick, 2010’s What Separates Me From You), Old Record (a 2008 re-release of a previous ADTR album on Indianola Records as part of a separate agreement), 2013’s Common Courtesy (the “Fifth” album), and now Bad Vibrations (the “Sixth” Album). ADTR’s inherently absurd claim that they delivered 13 “Albums” in the first two years of their agreement with Victory defies common sense, logic and reality.
Victory continued to pay A Day To Remember royalties even after the band filed this lawsuit. Victory ceased paying royalties when ADTR interfered with Victory’s merchandise sales to Hot Topic which was well into the lawsuit. Victory asserted a “Set-off” counterclaim in the lawsuit, which in this situation permits the withholding of payments that may be otherwise due based on ADTR’s material breaches of their agreement - which includes selling merchandise and music via ADTR.com, to other retailers, and refusing to deliver two commitment albums to Victory. As a result of these breaches, Victory sustained damages in the millions of dollars.
In August 2011 (two months after ADTR filed the lawsuit) Victory made its first of many settlement offers to resolve this dispute. They were all rejected by the band. ADTR rejected Victory’s settlement proposals again in 2013 and instead self-released Common Courtesy. This was a very obvious indicator that they never had any intention of settling their lawsuit."
Hailing from Ocala, Florida, A Day To Remember released their newest album, Bad Vibrations, on Sept. 2, 2016.
Watch more: 10 Essential A DAY TO REMEMBER songs