Recording company sued over allegedly inferior editions of songs

By Kyla Asbury | Mar 31, 2014

TRENTON, N.J. (Legal Newsline) - Consumers who purchased two music albums are suing Tutm Entertainment, claiming the re-recordings were poorly done.

The two albums, "Hits of the 80s: Platinum Collection" and "Hits of the 90s: Platinum Collection" were "poorly re-recorded songs taken from inferior live recordings or other re-recordings."

Consumers, including Celeste Farrell, the New Jersey woman named as plaintiff in the suit, were induced into purchasing the albums based upon the mistaken belief that the albums contained the original hit songs indicated from the 1980s and 1990s, according to a complaint filed March 20 in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

Instead of conveying the source of the recordings to allow the consumers to make an informed purchase decision, Tutm Entertainment, which is doing business as Drew's Entertainment, proved no information on the albums' covers or back labels to indicate to the consumers that the songs were not the original songs, according to the suit.

Farrell claims the albums were supposed to feature top music hits from the 80s and 90s, and the defendant's misrepresentations and omissions of the quality of the recordings are unfair, deceptive and misleading because consumers who purchased the albums believed they would be able to listen to the songs listed on the back cover in their original version.

"By naming only the song title and artists, without indicating their version, Tutm intentionally omits material information," the complaint states. "The lack of specification of the song's version causes the reasonable consumer to associate the listed song with the original recorded version."

Tutm is aware that the versions of the songs included in its albums are not the original songs, according to the suit.

Farrell claims Tutm should plainly disclose to consumers that the version of the songs included in any music albums are remixes, re-recordings, demo versions or live or concert recordings because the nature, quality and venue of the recording is a determinative factor for the consumer in considering whether to purchase the music album.

"Re-recorded songs are different from the original version and often have different sound effects, quality, length and composition than the original version," the complaint states. "All the songs in the albums differ from their original version in the foregoing categories."

Farrell claims iTunes and other music retailers conspicuously provide notice where a song being sold is a re-recording rather than an original.

Tutm benefits through increased sales of its albums by only listing the name of the song sand omitting the version of each song, according to the suit.

Farrell is seeking an order declaring the action a proper class action and certifying herself and her counsel as representative and class counsel; an order enjoining the defendants from continuing the unfair, deceptive and misleading business practices; actual damages and restitution; and pre- and post-judgment interest. She is being represented by Adam J. Gana and Adam J. Weinstein of Gana LLP; and Jonathan Kurta of Fitapelli & Kurta.

Tutm was previously named in two federal lawsuits, one in 2010 in the U.S. District Court for the District Court of New Jersey as a third-party and one in 2011 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.

In the 2010 lawsuit, Planet had been previously formed by Tutm and Blank allegedly for the sole purpose of commercially exploiting certain rights of Blank in existing and future recordings in its music catalogues.

In April 2010, Tutm learned that Blank entered into a written contract with a third-party, and Planet claimed Blank breached its operating agreement.

The lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice in July 2011.

In the 2011 lawsuit, Ball & Chain LLC claimed Tutm and/or its distributers/retail customers wrongfully infringed on its trademarks.

The lawsuit was voluntarily dismissed with prejudice in July 2011.

U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey case number: 3:14-cv-01781

From Legal Newsline: Kyla Asbury can be reached at

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