The Reids are demanding all WMG “profits and gains” attributable to the infringement in an amount to be proven in court or $ 2.55 million in legal damages, which is $ 150,000 for each of the 17 registered works, that they claim will be hurt. In addition, they are demanding compensation for all phonograms that are injured “up to one”[d] including the court date “; a judicial determination that WMG’s retention of these copyrights violates the 1976 Copyright Act; “A balance sheet of all profits, profits and advantages resulting from acts of infringement and other violations of the law by WMG”; and costs of the lawsuit, including legal fees.
The 12-page complaint contains the termination that WMG issued on January 7, 2019, two years before Psychosweetsthe date of termination on January 8, 2021. Also included is the letter of December 9, 2020 from they Melissa Battino, vp Business at WMG’s Rhino Entertainment Group, in which Battino said the notice was “not effective to end WMG’s US rights” and argued that the band would “never have copyrights in the recordings” under the She also wrote that giving notice could constitute a “breach” of the band’s original recording deal.
Battino’s letter went on to explain that the termination matter was at the discretion of the UK courts, citing the so-called “Duran Duran” ruling of 2016, in which the New Wave stars of the 1980s lost their offer to publish Sony Music’s rights finish some of their most popular hits. In his decision, judge Richard Arnold the UK High Court of Justice ruled that the band’s notices of termination were “void” as these publishing contracts were exclusively subject to British law, which provided a copyright term for the artist’s lifetime plus 70 years.
But Evan Cohen, the attorney representing The Jesus and Mary Chain in the current case, argues that WMG’s position on the UK matter runs counter to precedents set by artists who have successfully filed dismissals. “I don’t think it has anything to do with this British legal position because other British artists have got their masters back,” he says, citing Gang of Four as an example of a British act that successfully terminated WMG’s copyrights to their work .
“Basically, it is about Warner Music’s position that British law controls what happens to our termination law,” adds Cohen, “which has never been the case.”
The Jesus and Mary Chain is not the first artist Cohen has represented on the issue of copyright termination. In February 2019, the attorney filed a similar lawsuit against UMG and Sony Music on behalf of a group of artists including John Waite, Joe Ely, David Johansen, John Lyon and Paul Collins (Waite and Ely sued UMG, while Johansen, Lyon and Collins sued Sony Music), whose layoffs were ignored by their respective record labels. (These cases are still pending.)
In that complaint, Cohen argued that record companies were hiding behind a clause in copyright law that excludes anyone who “works for rent” – that is, works created by an employee in the course of his employment – from the right to dismiss the file. In the past, artists have opposed the popular interpretation of record companies that recordings should be considered loan items, including Eagles frontman Don Henley, who sought to defeat a provision in a 1,740-page bill made them as such in the late 1990s declared. But while these efforts ultimately led Congress to reformulate the provision in question, the issue remains a legal gray area.
This is to be understood as anyone who has created “work for rent”, essentially a work that was produced by an employee as part of his employment. In such a situation, the employer is seen as the legal author of the work. The latest lawsuits state that UMG and Sony, in response to terminations, regularly take the position that recordings are “rented works” due to the language of the recording contracts.
WMG has traditionally been “not as militant against reversions” as the other two major label groups, says Cohen, although it has still been the target of such lawsuits in the past. In February of that year, country singer Dwight Yoakam sued the company for refusing to return the rights to his early recordings.
“Warner Music really only got that position five or six times in the last five years, and the rest … they gave it up without really saying anything about it,” says Cohen, saying that Los Angeles is Rock Icons X. a WMG law that successfully ended the company’s copyrights in its work.
Despite WMG’s rejection of their first resignation, The Jesus and Mary Chain have since filed two more – one for works published between 1987 and 1992 (with an effective cancellation date no later than 2025) and another for two additional recordings published in 1984 (effective June 10, 2023). With the new lawsuit, they are apparently hoping for a broader blow against the big record labels in favor of the artists’ rights to reclaim their old copyrights.
“If WMG is not prohibited from behaving in a similar manner in the future, WMG may destroy the value and saleability of the sound recordings in question, which is in direct contradiction to the second change guaranteed by the copyright law,” the lawsuit said.
Warner Music Group did not respond posterRequest for comment at time of publication.