Fans are still vibing and streaming Megadeth’s latest album “The Sick, The Dying… And The Dead!” months after its release, but many of them didn’t know that the record has ongoing issues with the person who designed the official album artwork; what happened?
According to The Hollywood Reporter, New York City-based artist Brent Elliott White claimed he created numerous characters and illustrations for the group that “become an integral part” of Megadeth’s identity. The group also reached out to him a few years back to work on the album.
Even though they didn’t have a legal agreement and never signed any contract, the artist said conceptualizing the album cover involved several revisions and he worked hundreds of hours for them.
In 2021, the band finally picked a concept for the artwork of their latest album and asked White to create another illustration for an EP release. The following year, Megadeth’s manager, Bob Johnsen, asked him for more renderings of the artwork so they could use it for stage design.
At the time, the artist finally opened up about his situation, saying he never signed any contract with the group and hasn’t received any compensation for his designs.
“I know album release time is hectic but I have to mention that any send off, including album art, is contingent on compensation and contract,” he told the band’s manager.
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The alleged response he got from Johnson was “No one intended to not have this papered by now” and that he would open the issue up to the group “the right way.”
Even though he already spoke to the manager, his first single of Megadeth was released the following day and was even featured in Rolling Stone. However, he wasn’t credited for his artwork.
After this, he immediately reached out to Universal Music Group to explain his side, saying that since they don’t have a contract and didn’t agree on anything, he still owned the rights to his illustrations.
Megadeth Album ‘The Sick, The Dying… And the Dead!’ Draws Lawsuit Over Cover Art pic.twitter.com/lmmTgfKBY7
— Cover Art Matters (@coverartmatters) February 8, 2023
The album officially dropped in September 2022 and the two parties still never reached any agreement regarding the payment terms.
Today, Brent Elliott White is going after Megadeth, UMG, and others for copyright infringement. He also claimed that his case is under New York’s Freelance Isn’t Free Act that requires contracts for work priced at $800 or more.
Metal Sucks reported that if ever the artist wins the case, he could get paid for damages and would have the right to stop the band from using his art.
As of this writing, neither Megadeth nor their band manager has addressed the issue publicly.
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