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Music Publisher Must Pay for Copyright Infringements

A music producer who was assigned copyrights and granted licences in respect of numerous musical recordings by a friend before he died has triumphed in a High Court claim against publishers who exploited the works without having any right to do so.

The deceased was a leading figure in the musical world who arranged tunes enjoyed by millions in films and on stage. The Court found that he had retained his copyrights in the recordings until about three years before his death. He had then assigned some of them to his friend and licensed him in respect of others.

The publisher, which accepted that it had no rights in respect of the recordings, had marketed compilation albums which featured the disputed works. It did so without the friend’s permission and the Court found that this amounted to a clear breach of his rights. The decision opened the way for him to seek damages or an account of the profits generated by the publisher from its acts of infringement.