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Duran Duran US copyright loss

Written by Ellis Sweetenham on 02 December 2016

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Duran Duran, 80’s pop group, are said to be ‘saddened and outraged’ at their loss of their fight to reclaim the US copyright rights of their first three albums.

They granted the rights to these albums to Gloucester Place Music Ltd which is part of EMI Music Publishing.

They were seeking to terminate this grant and revert the copyright power back to themselves.

The key to their argument in the High Court was US copyright laws which they claim allowed them to revert the rights, 35 years after the rights were transferred.

The albums, Duran Duran, Rio and Seven and the Ragged Tiger, contained some of the band's biggest hits, among them Hungry Like the Wolf and The Reflex.

However, the band were on the losing end of the decision, which Gloucester Place Music’s lawyers successfully argued that English contract law prevented the reversion of the copyright protection.

Speaking of the decision, band member Nick Rhodes said,

"We signed a publishing agreement as unsuspecting teenagers, over three decades ago, when just starting out and when we knew no better,"

"Today, we are told that language in that agreement allows our long-time publishers, Sony/ATV, to override our statutory rights under US law.

"This gives wealthy publishing companies carte blanche to take advantage of the songwriters who built their fortune over many years, and strips songwriters of their right to rebalance this reward.

"If left untested, this judgment sets a very bad precedent for all songwriters of our era."

It will be interesting to see if this case develops further and how it will impact further songwriter decisions.

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