According to TMZ, a GUNS N' ROSES superfan has been threatened with a lawsuit by the band's record label over an alleged leak of nearly a hundred previously unreleased songs.
Rick Dunsford is accused by Universal Music Group (UMG) of leaking 97 tracks over the Internet after obtaining the recordings from a storage unit auction.
The label sent a cease-and-desist letter to Dunsford claiming he violated an earlier settlement agreement in which UMG paid him $15,000 to return the recordings.
The roots of the dispute can be traced back to last year when Rick came across a storage shed belonging to former GUNS N' ROSES A&R rep Tom Zutaut. Zutaut is the former Geffen Records executive who signed GUNS N' ROSES in 1986.
"About two and a half months ago, I drove to Virginia, and there was a storage locker that belonged to Tom Zutaut," Rick explained to U.S. radio personalities Greg Dwyer and Bill Michaels this past October. "He didn't pay his bills or something and it was auctioned off. The individual that bought the locker, there was about 20 CDs in this locker of unreleased GUNS N’ ROSES music from around '99 to 2000 or 2001."
Rick and few other fans banded together and came up with the $15,000 asking price. He later insisted that he wasn't responsible for the song leaks. "I know the seller that I bought them from was continuing to sell to other individuals," he said, "and there was a massive leak. So pretty much, I've been blamed for this."
A GUNS N' ROSES representative told TMZ: "It is tremendously disappointing, sad, and unfortunate that a record executive involved with the band in their early years found it appropriate to auction off the unreleased materials owned by his former employer."
In 2001, Zutaut was reportedly recruited by Interscope-Geffen to help finalize GUNS N' ROSES' "Chinese Democracy" album, albeit without success. (The LP eventually arrived in 2008.) At one point, he even tried to persuade Axl Rose to release the album under his name, "W. Axl Rose," not GUNS N' ROSES.
"I really thought I could get [Axl] to deliver the record," Zutaut told Billboard in a 2018 interview. "And we got close."