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All Legal Action is Over!

It's Getting Crazier
and Crazier Folks!

Update on the Lawsuits Against Dead Kennedys

Excerpts From The Appellate Decision

DKs Completely Vindicated In Appeal

Statement of Facts

DKs Respond to Lawsuit

DKs v ATR Appeal

DKs Puzzled By Biafra's Latest Legal Maneuver

DKs Plan New Releases

DKs Sue Jello Biafra

DKs Sever Ties with ATR


Record Label Drops All Legal Action Against Dead Kennedys

In the word's of Roy Orbison, “It's over, it's over, it's over!” Yes, Dead Kennedys' misguided former record label, Alternative Tentacles Records, has thrown in the towel and withdrawn its last lawsuit (there have been 5!) against the band. Reality has finally impinged on their nuttiness. The man who said he was going to fight to the end - didn't. The man who said he would prove startling new facts - didn't. Yes, the man who made it ugly and recently said “…it's far from over, uglier than ever, with no end in sight” is finally ending it - the case is over!

By dropping all legal action against Dead Kennedys, the San Francisco Superior Court's earlier decision at a jury trial in May 2000 is now final . Alternative Tentacles Records was convicted of knowingly and fraudulently shortchanging Dead Kennedys; the jury awarded the band compensatory and punitive damages totaling more than $200,000.

“The record industry has been skimming royalties owed artists since the beginning,” said Dead Kennedys guitarist East Bay Ray. “This case is no different from blues musicians being taken advantage of in the twenties and thirties. Many people doubted the claims we made against our former record label back in 1998 but with this announcement there is no denying we were the victims here. But now maybe it's time for Klaus, D.H., Biafra, and myself to move on with our lives - more music and less lawyers!”

It has been four years since the San Francisco Superior Court ruling. The California Court of Appeals in June 2003 unanimously upheld all the verdicts against Jello Biafra and Alternative Tentacles; everything in their appeal was denied. Biafra in his appeal did not dispute that he acted deceptively. In contrast, the court did overturn the one verdict against East Bay Ray. The label and Biafra had sought to overturn more than 20 years of band history and take sole control of Dead Kennedys by breaking up the band partnership, known as Decay Music. The ruling means that all band members will continue to maintain the band's two-decade old partnership with all four members, including Biafra, sharing equally in ownership and control of the bands' creative works.

When the original trial began in 1998, the band's motives were questioned by some in the media and the punk community who had been lured into believing many fabricated statements made by Alternative Tentacles Records. The tactic used was to turn any statement of fact into a question of motive. The band was accused of wanting to profit from a mythical television commercial, yet they have never allowed their music in a commercial. The band was accused of greed, yet it was the label who took money from them. The band was accused of wanting to sign to a major record label, yet they signed to independent label Manifesto Records. The band was accused of wanting to destroy their former record label, yet that label is still in business. Lo and behold, all these claims against the band were false from the beginning.

Since taking control of the Dead Kennedys catalog following the trial court's judgment in January 2001, the band has remastered and reissued their entire back catalog on both CD and vinyl. The band has also released their first live record, MUTINY ON THE BAY, a compilation of tracks recorded from 1982-1986 on Manifesto Records as well as the Target Video, DEAD KENNEDYS - EARLY YEARS LIVE DVD via Music Video Distributors. A new DVD, DEAD KENNEDYS, IN GOD WE TRUST, INC. - THE LOST TAPES and live recording from 1979 entitled LIVE AT THE DEAF CLUB were released on CD from Manifesto Records in late 2003/early 2004. Since reissuing the band's catalog in 2001 with superior, remastered sound and original artwork, music fans everywhere have recognized the improvement and continue to grab up more Dead Kennedys' CDs than they ever did from the band's previous label.



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last updated 07/14/04