Sony Music Entertainment UK Limited (“Sony Music”) is seeking to strike out a claim by the respective estates of Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell (“the Claimants”) in relation to recording and performer rights arising from the pair’s time in 1960s rock heavyweights The Jimi Hendrix Experience.
The Claimants argue that they own a share of the copyright in the sound recordings and performers rights in relation to three albums released before the death of Jimi Hendrix in 1970: Are You Experienced; Axis: Bold as Love; and Electric Ladyland. Sony Music contend the copyright is in fact owned by Experience Hendrix LLC and Authentic Hendrix LLC, both of which are registered companies in the US state of Washington.
Sony Music further claim that the pair signed, as part of a settlement after eponymous frontman Jimi Hendrix’s untimely death in 1970, releases, assignments, and covenants not to sue Hendrix’s estate. The pair had each claimed at that time for 25% of the income generated by the frontman’s estate, based upon a purported oral agreement between the bandmates. A representative for Sony Music stated that these settlement terms estop Redding and Mitchell and thus their respective estates from bringing any such a claim.
The Claimants had previously argued that the terms agreed in the 1960s do not apply to performance rights as they are new rights by virtue of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. Sony Music contend, however, that the 1988 Act’s provisions, and subsequent amendments, did not affect any prior agreements. It remains to be seen as to what position the Court will take on the matter.
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