A complaint was made against Megadeth over the artwork featured on their latest LP, The Sick, The Dying… And the Dead! The plaintiff is claiming that he has yet to receive adequate payment or acknowledgement for his design.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Brent Elliott White, a designer and illustrator from New York, created artworks and characters for Megadeth that have become an integral part of the group’s brand. At the start of 2020, he was contacted regarding the project but was not asked to sign a contract. The complaint states that the design process necessitated multiple revisions and amendments, resulting in White dedicating a considerable amount of time to the project.
By the spring of 2021, the band had chosen a concept for their album cover, The Sick, The Dying…And the Dead! and asked White to make it. A year later in June 2022, White reported that Bob Johnsen, the band’s manager, wanted further visuals to serve as decorations for an upcoming tour.
White informed Johnsen that no remuneration had been provided nor a contract been given to him. He noted the chaotic launch of the album and further highlighted that the delivery of the artwork was contingent on payment and a written agreement. He also made it clear that these matters needed to be settled as quickly as possible.
In the complaint, Johnson was quoted as saying that he was unaware the document had not been finalized and he would act to remedy the situation.
The following day, the first single was released and White verified that the artwork appeared in Rolling Stone, but he was not acknowledged. Therefore, he contacted Universal Music Group, explained the situation, and declared that without a contract to transfer rights, he still owned the copyright.
In September 2022, the album’s release was accompanied by a lack of consensus on cost. White expressed that the work was a triumph – it was even put forward for the Grammy award in the category of best metal performance – and millions of viewers watched the YouTube videos of it. Third parties offered miscellaneous items featuring White’s art without his authorization, costing anywhere from $100 up to $600, as the defendants had given them the power to do so.
A lawsuit has been filed by him against Megadeth, UMG, and other parties for breaching copyright regulations. His claims are based on the Freelance Isn’t Free Act of New York, which requires a written agreement if the service is worth more than 800 dollars, sets a timeline for payment, and prohibits retaliations or salary reductions.