Former Backstreet Boys keyboardist-songwriter Tommy Smith filed a lawsuit against the group, the members’ individually owned and operated personal music-publishing companies, and Zomba Enterprises, Inc. in the United States District Court Central District Of California on Friday (March 15).
The lawsuit stems from an ongoing dispute between Smith and the Backstreet Boys about credit for songs Smith claims that he co-wrote for the group’s last Jive Records album, Black & Blue (released November 21, 2000). The songs in question are “The Answer To Our Life” and “Time,” according to the court papers.
In the suit, Smith claims that he wrote and composed “The Answer To Our Life” with Backstreet Boy Nick Carter, and that he should be the owner of 50 percent of all rights, title, and interest for the track, including its copyright. Smith also claims a 33.33 percent stake in “Time,” which he says he penned with Guy Walker and Backstreet Boy Brian Littrell.
Smith also asserts that the members of the Backstreet Boys have not credited him as a co-writer or joint copyright owner, and he has received no monies for the worldwide “use, performance, broadcast, and other exploitation of the compositions.” In addition, Smith is asking the court for unspecified damages as well as attorney’s fees.
Smith first began playing keyboards in the Backstreet Boys backing band in October of 1996 and he remained the band’s keyboard player until late 2000. He left the Backstreet Boys for his present job as keyboardist for J Records recording group O-Town.