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Ben Butler and Christine Lacy reported in the Australian on 2 June 2015 that Levitt Robinson client Stephen Pavlovic is being sued in New York by music publishing company BMG, in relation to mechanical royalties for the distribution of Tame Impala records which are allegedly unpaid. BMG have also brought proceedings against record label Modular Recordings, and various companies within the Universal Music Group of companies, including Universal Music Australia.

An America-based company owned by Mr Pavlovic was responsible for the distribution of Tame Impala records in America until about January 2014, at which point the distribution–and the liability to pay the mechanical royalties– was assumed by a Universal Music Group entity. Mr Pavlovic accepts that his American company was responsible for the payment of royalties for the period that his company was distributing the Tame Impala works in the USA, but not for the period since Universal Music Group began distributing those works. It is not clear at this stage whether BMG is claiming any unpaid royalties relating to the period in which Mr Pavlovic’s company was distributing Tame Impala records.

BMG have advised Mr Pavlovic that no Tame Impala royalties have been paid at all since the time that Tame Impala sold their mechanical licenses to BMG—including for the period during which Universal Music Group has been distributing the records. Mr Pavlovic has no financial interest in Universal Music Group and does not accept liability for any failure by Universal Music Group or its subsidiaries to make royalty payments to BMG.

Mr Pavlovic is currently in confidential discussions with BMG in order to resolve the dispute.