Multi-platinum artist Ashanti filed a federal lawsuit Jan. 27 over the unauthorized release of demos recorded more than eight years ago. Stated by Billboard.com, Ashanti claims she recorded demos for Parker and T.E.A.M. to shop for a major-label deal when she was 16 years old. They failed to land a deal; the artist claims she never intended or authorized them to release the demos as an album. Ashanti alleges invasion of privacy, unfair competition and trademark-related claims for releasing the demos without her permission and using her name and likeness on the albums and in advertising. She asks the court for an injunction, damages to compensate for lost profits and harm to her reputation, and punitive damages in excess of $1 million. “It has long been a sad fact of the music industry that there are a great many people who try to make easy money off of the talent, hard work and success of young recording artists,” says Ashanti’s current lawyer, William Archer, head of the entertainment practice group at Lewis, Brisbois, Bisgaard & Smith in Los Angeles. “Recording artists are starting to fight back in different ways. That is what we intend to do here.” TEAM and Parker could not be reached for comment. Archer says the complaint has not yet been served on the defendants.
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