American Idol contestants including Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood are suing record label Sony Music Entertainment for $10m (£6m) in royalties.
The lawsuit has been filed by 19 Recordings, the music company founded by British entrepreneur and creator of the Idol franchise Simon Fuller.
It claims that Sony cheated the recording artists, which also include Clay Aiken, Chris Daughtry and Jordin Sparks, out of the royalties.
In the lawsuit, which was filed on Thursday, it says that 19 Recordings discovered the issue from two separate audits of Sony’s records.
Attorney Richard Busch, of the Nashville law firm King & Ballow, said the legal action was necessary to protect the rights of 19’s artists.
Fuller created Pop Idol in Britain in 2001, but sold it to the Fox network where it has become the most popular television show on US network television.
He is manager for some of the world’s biggest stars, including the Beckhams, and is reportedly worth £375m.
A Sony spokeswoman said she had no comment on the lawsuit.