Kirk Franklin Issued Cease-and-Desist Order Following Defamatory and Misleading Statements Made Against Former Label

Lisa Collins

      Platinum selling gospel artist Kirk Franklin was served with a cease-and-desist letter following false and misleading comments made to Shannon Sharpe on the Club Shay Shay video podcast alleging that “the label I signed with, they took a hundred percent of my publishing.”

      The statements sparked controversy and resulted in internet backlash against his former label, GospoCentric Records, and its founder, Vicki Mack Lataillade.

      “Wow, label promoting gospel music but robbing the artists,” posted one gospel aficionado.

      “Has the gospel label ever been dragged? Are they still walking around preying on people,“ wrote another.

      In the legal document, issued on December 18, 2023, attorneys for Lilly Mack Publishing and its owners Claude and Vicki Mack Lataillade, contend that Franklin misrepresented the truth and omitted the fact that he actually received several million dollars in publishing revenues from tunes he’d written on his first recordings, including his breakout hit, “Why We Sing”.

      “As you are fully aware,” the document states, “whenever a song is created, two equal shares of royalties attach: (1) the songwriter’s share equal to 50% of the total publishing rights; and (2) the publisher’s share equal to 50% of the total publishing rights. Accordingly, 100% of the music publishing of any song necessarily includes both the songwriter’s share and the publisher’s share.  Therefore, in order for any party to take “a hundred percent of [your] publishing”, that party would have to have taken—either via contract or theft—both the songwriter’s share and the publisher’s share.”

      Notably, Franklin signed a second contract with Gospo Centric Records and Lilly Mack Publishing. In that deal, he not only received an unprecedented $1 million advance but saw his overall publishing share increased to 75% (100% of the songwriter’s share and 50% of the publisher’s share), with Lilly Mack Publishing reducing its publishing share to 25% (50% of the publisher’s share).

      A statement from Lilly Mack Publishing read in part: “As stated in the cease-and-desist letter served to Franklin on December 18, 2023, he [Kirk Franklin] received his fair and equitable songwriting and publishing rights and subsequent revenues, totaling in the millions. This fruitful financial blessing has established him as one of the most prominent and influential names in gospel music.

      “Though Franklin has chosen to make irresponsible, reckless and unfounded claims in a public forum, we will not resort to such actions and, instead, will pursue legal remedies against these false claims.”

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