Ozzy Osbourne has been slapped with a $2million lawsuit by his former bassist and co-writer Bob Daisley over alleged unpaid royalties.Australian songwriter Daisley has previously sued his former musical partner several times, but this fresh lawsuit is based on an audit that allegedly shows Ozzy and his company Blizzard Music Limited were withholding the full amount Daisley was owed under publishing agreements.
66-year-old Daisley filed the lawsuit in Nevada on Monday (8th August) seeking $2million (£1.53million) in relation to Ozzy’s first two albums ‘Blizzard of Oz’ and ‘Diary of a Madman’.
It alleges that "although royalties have been paid to Daisley over the years, an audit conducted in 2014 showed that Osbourne and his company had been improperly deducting undisclosed fees before distributing royalties to Daisley and improperly withholding Daisley’s rightful share of royalties owed under the publishing agreements for the commercial exploitations of the songs.”
Daisley's lawyer Alan Howard said: "While Mr. Osbourne was benefiting from the songs co-authored by our client, the audit shows that he was systematically short-changing Mr. Daisley. Mr. Daisley had no choice but to bring this action to secure his fair share of the proceeds those songs have generated.”
In response to the lawsuit, Ozzy has issued an official statement categorically refuting Daisley’s claims. It reads:
“For the past 36 years Mr. Daisley has been receiving bi-annual royalty statements and checks from Blizzard Music, totalling in the millions of dollars, which have been routinely cashed. Mr. Daisley has audited Blizzard Music accounts over the years using several different auditing firms who found no discrepancies. He has previously filed lawsuits in the UK and the US and has lost on each occasion.
“We understand that Mr. Daisley is now in retirement and that these funds are his main source of income, so it is his right to be diligent with his money, but after 36 years, this is tantamount to harassment. We would have hoped that after 36 years that Mr. Daisley would have lost his unhealthy personal obsession and resentment towards Mr. Osbourne’s success. Blizzard Music and Mr. Osbourne plan to vigorously defend these proceedings.”
Daisley played bass, sang backing vocals and co-wrote/co-produced the vast majority of Ozzy’s debut ‘Blizzard of Oz’ and co-wrote much of 1981’s ‘Diary of a Madman’, however he and drummer Lee Kerslake were axed shortly before the second record’s release.
Alongside Kerslake he successfully sued Jet Records and Don Arden in 1986 for performance royalties and 12 years later he sued Osbourne and his management company over performance royalties and accreditation.
The lawsuit was dismissed in 2003 and the decision was later upheld by the United States Court of Appeal – a year after Osbourne’s management deleted the original recordings and reissued them with bass and drums re-recorded by future Metallica member Robert Trujilo and Faith No More’s Mike Bordin.