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Sony Music under strain from musicians’ copyright claim

Written by Ellis Sweetenham on 08 February 2019

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Sony Music, some musician’s dream to work with, has come under fire from three musicians who have accused them of stopping them reclaiming their copyright.

The musicians in question are David Johansen, John Lyon and Paul Collins but their claim is on behalf of ‘hundreds of other musicians’ who claim that Sony have breached the US Copyright Act which allows authors of music a second chance to reclaim copyright from “unwise grants made early on in their careers”, by refusing to give them ownership of music they recorded under contract for Sony.

The breached clause allows the reclaim of copyright 35 years after the publication of the recordings as long as a ‘Notice of Termination’ is issued.

The musicians claim Sony has refused to honour this on a number of occasions.  Sony states that the refusal was on the basis that the works were ‘works made for hire’ and therefore the provision did not apply.

It will be interesting to see how these musicians get on up against the power and resources of Sony and also which side budges first.

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