In August 2008, 30 Seconds To Mars received a $30 million lawsuit notification for breach of contract with EMI/Virgin Records. The band and founding members Jared and Shannon Leto, had originally signed a contract under Immortal Records in 1999 that transferred to Virgin in 2004 under the EMI conglomerate. Leto claimed that the band was no longer liable under contract after a 7 year period due to a California Law precedent. The band's decision to claim the original contract null and void also stemmed from personal financial failure despite their latest 2005 album, Beautiful Lie, selling over 3.5 million copies. Leto explained that the project "started as a film about the making of an album, and it became a film about the most brutal and challenging conflict of our lives”
For over 200 days a brutal legal battle ensued firing the imagination, desperation and creative talents of Jared, Tomo and Shannon to create their 2009 album This Is War. The album became "two years of our lives working on that record, and it was us against the world... There were times that it was overwhelming. Everything that was going on was brutal... It was a case of survival, to tell the truth."
In April 2009, the case was settled with a new contract still under EMI due to the "willingness and enthusiasm by EMI to address our major concerns and issues, (and) the opportunity to return to work with a team so committed and passionate about Thirty Seconds to Mars".
Artifact premiered on September 15th at the Toronto International Film Festival winning the People's Choice Award in the category for documentary.
Below is a special 20 minute preview of Artifact with Leto leading the charge,the questions and the frustration over "the most challenging business obstacle that we've ever gone through as a band." The documentary was threaded together by Leto and company from over 3000 hours of film footage taken through the dispute, creative process and This Is War world tour. No word as to when the entire documentary will be made available.
WATCH OUR EXCLUSIVE MTV HISTORY OF JARED LETO - 17 YEARS OF PICTURES
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