Five musicians filed class action lawsuits against Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group earlier this week in an attempt to recapture ownership to the copyrights of their hit songs and recordings.
The class actions filed in Manhattan federal court claim that U.S. copyright law ‘permits recording artists to terminate grants of copyright interests 35 years after the initial release,’ however, that Sony and UMG have “routinely and systematically” ignored their notices saying the songs were been deemed “works made for hire” and therefore not subject to being reclaimed.
The suit against Sony was filed by singer/songwriter David Johansen (pictured), best known as a member of the New York Dolls and Buster Poindexter; John Lyon (aka Southside Johnny), who is widely considered to be the ‘Grandfather of the New Jersey Sound’; and pop artist Paul Collins of Paul Collins’ Beat.
The suit against UMG was filed by John Waite, best known for his hit 1984 single “Missing You, and his work with the band The Babys; and acclaimed singer-songwriter Joe Ely.
The plaintiffs are represented by the law firm Blank Rome and by Los Angeles lawyer Evan Cohen. Both lawsuits cover recording artists who served termination notices effective Jan. 1, 2013 or later, and are seeking injunctions requiring that the notices be honored, monetary damages and other remedies.