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'My Sharona' Drummer

Estate Sues Capitol Records

Over iTunes $$$

12/22/2011 4:27 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF

1222_bruce_gary_ex
Music doesn't pay like it used to -- at least according to the sister of deceased Knack drummer Bruce Gary ... who is now suing Capitol Records, claiming the company is screwing her out of hard-earned digital download money.

Gary's sister -- Felice Catena -- inherited the rights to Bruce's music after he passed away in 2006.

Now, she's filed a lawsuit in L.A. County Superior Court, claiming Capitol is shafting her ... paying only a teensy-weensy fraction of what she's owed on download proceeds for Knack hits like "My Sharona" and "Good Girls Don't."

According to the complaint, Capitol owes Catena not 12% ... not 25% ... but 50% of net receipts from sales of his music by iTunes, eMusic, Amazon, and others.

You see, back in the day -- recording contracts didn't contain provisions for digital downloads (obviously) ... so once iTunes came around, it wasn't clear whether to pay the artist their sale fee (around 12%-18%) or their licensing fee (around 50%).

Felice claims sales through digital distributors are actually licenses -- and she should be paid accordingly. Eminem infamously sued his record label for the same thing back in 2007 ... and won.

Good news for Ms. Catena.

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