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It’s a tricky legal situation.
The remarks come after weeks of public outcry from fans and celebrities alike, as well as plenty of media speculation as to what the label is in its legal right to do with the case. (The consensus seems to be “very little.”)
Sony has made it possible for Kesha to record without any connection, involvement or interaction with Luke whatsoever, but Sony is not in a position to terminate the contractual relationship between Luke and Kesha… Sony is doing everything it can to support the artist in these circumstances, but is legally unable to terminate the contract to which it is not a party.
The problem is that Kesha is still signed to Dr. Luke’s label, Kemosabe Records. While Kemosabe is a subsidiary of Sony, according to the Times, the pop star’s contract was signed through a separate deal with Kasz Money Incc., Dr. Luke’s production company.
Even though the company doesn’t apparently have much legal power in this case, they’re still in a tight spot public relations-wise. The Daily Dot spoke to assistant professor at the University of Mississippi School of Law Stacey Lantagne, who confirmed the precarious situation both Kesha and Sony are in with this suit:
There are multiple contracts at issue here. One of them is with Dr. Luke. But one of them is with Sony itself, and doesn’t involve Dr. Luke in any way, shape, or form, legally. Is Dr. Luke still a producer Sony is working with even through sexual assault allegations, and is that sketchy? Yes. But the contract between Sony and Kesha apparently, from what I can glean, doesn’t mention Dr. Luke and doesn’t involve Dr. Luke… She needs to bring theories like breach of good faith on Sony’s part, or some kind of duress in the Sony contract, or some kind of illegality, or some kind of impossibility / impracticability in fulfilling the contract. All of these things might very well exist, given how this has gone down, but she hasn’t made those arguments for some reason, and judges have to only decide arguments brought to them.
On Kesha’s end, she continues to thank her fans and feed the buzz about the case on social media.
Christine Friar is a writer and editor in New York who focuses on streaming entertainment and internet culture. Her work has appeared in the Awl, the Fader, New York Magazine, Paper Magazine, Vogue, Elle, and more.