The music business is a high-stakes, high-risk venture, and it's not unusual for artists to wind up in court to defend their interests, as we'll see in this gallery of the nastiest country music lawsuits.

In fact, the list of artists who've been involved in litigation is a lengthy one, including huge names like Brad Paisley, Kenny Rogers and Tim McGraw, all of whom have taken legal action against different record labels. It's both sad, and sometimes even mildly comical, to see how often artists have to sue record labels, sometimes even to the extreme where a given artist is suing a record label while currently signed to and producing new music for that label.

Label deals gone sour are probably the most common reasons country artists wind up filing lawsuits, but they can also end up in court facing their former management, business partners or even bandmates, as we've seen over and over. Some of the nastiest lawsuits in country music were filed by songwriters claiming artists stole hit songs from other, lesser-known works, and one of these lawsuits made headlines worldwide after a superstar provided blistering testimony in open court.

While the reasons for these country music lawsuits vary, the heart of the matter mostly remains the same: money. There are shockingly huge sums of money flying around the music business on a daily basis, and who's going to get control of the lion's share of it seems all too often to bring out the claws between people who, in many cases, used to be close associates and friends.

The Nastiest Lawsuits in the History of Country Music:

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