New Order, Peter Hook Settle Lawsuit Over Band Names
Less than two years after former New Order bassist Peter Hook sued ex-bandmates Bernard Sumner, Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert over their business practices, both sides have reached an agreement.
"New Order announce that today, a full and final settlement has been reached in the long-running disputes with their former bassist Peter Hook," the group said in a statement. "The disputes were based upon Hook's use of various New Order and Joy Division assets on merchandising and in the promotion of shows by his new band, and the amount of money he receives from the use of the name New Order by his former colleagues since 2011. The Joy Division and New Order names mean a great deal to so many of the fans, and the band felt it important to protect the legacy. With these issues now dealt with, Bernard, Stephen and Gillian can continue to do what they do best: make music and perform live."
A rep for New Order said they had no further comment at this time. A rep for Hook did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
In November 2015, Hook accused frontman Sumner and drummer Morris of "clandestinely" creating a new business that would administer the New Order and Joy Division trademarks. He also claimed they owed him "millions of pounds" in unpaid royalties. He claimed that he had retained a 25 percent stake in the company that the group had formed following the closure of sometime label Factory Records.
But before the group re-formed in 2011 without him, bringing keyboardist Gilbert back into the fold, they created a new company, paying the old company only five percent and, in effect, giving Hook 1.25 percent. He claimed he was entitled to royalties, merchandising and performance fees. At the time, he said he was owed some £2.3 million (or $3.5 million at the time, according to Pitchfork).
New Order's lawyer at the time called the formation of a new company "completely reasonable." The attorney, David Casement, suggested that Hook was suing to hinder the group's potential success (as they had just released their Music Complete LP) or that it was an attempt to force his way back into the band. A judge dismissed these allegations.
"The reports so far take a number of things out of context," New Order said in their own statement at the time. "Peter still, for instance, receives his full share of all back-catalogue royalties. This dispute relates only to the share of income he takes from our work without him since 2011. Not much more we can say as nothing has been decided by the Court on the facts other than he has a right to proceed with the claim, so this matter is still in play."
Hook expressed his disillusionment with the band carrying on without him in a 2013 Rolling Stone interview. "I felt betrayed by the way they did it because they did it without consulting me and without asking my opinion," he said of the new company they'd formed. "As Bernard explained … they found a legal way to do it, that I couldn't stop them. Not that I would have stopped them anyway. They just presented it completely as a fait accompli, and I heard in the same way as everybody else heard on the radio. So it's not a good start, is it?"
Sumner commented on the split in a 2015 interview with Rolling Stone. "It's a real shame," he said. "My heart bleeds for him. He left the band, and then he complained about leaving the band. But I wish him good luck and that he gets on with what he's chosen to do instead of calling me all sorts of names. He's so angry. If you choose to take a path in life, don't blame other people for the path you've chosen to take."
"I really don't like it when members of bands slag each other off in the press," Morris said. "If you've got a problem, you should sort it out without going public. It's not very pretty, is it?"RS