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IN BRIEF: Warner Music sued by Jesus and Mary Chain over copyrights

2 minute read

The headquarters of Warner Music Group is pictured in Burbank, California. REUTERS/Fred Prouser

  • Band said it terminated WMG's copyright interest in debut album
  • WMG allegedly refuses to acknowledge termination

(Reuters) - Scottish rock band The Jesus and Mary Chain has sued Warner Music Group in Los Angeles federal court, alleging WMG failed to comply with the band’s notice that it was terminating the label’s interest in its music.

Band members Jim and William Reid said in their Monday complaint that WMG has refused to acknowledge their termination rights in the band's 1986 debut album "Psychocandy" and other works under the Copyright Act.

WMG has "no viable grounds" for denying the band its rights "under the current state of the law," the band's attorney Evan Cohen of Cohen Music Law said Tuesday.

WMG didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Copyright Act of 1976 allows artists to terminate assignments after 35 years by notifying the assignee and the U.S. Copyright Office at least two years in advance. The band said it informed WMG in January 2019 that it was terminating its rights in "Psychocandy" and three singles as of January 2021.

According to the complaint, a representative of WMG subsidiary Rhino Entertainment responded in December 2020 that U.K. law applied to the matter, under which the band "never owned" copyrights in the recordings, and that the notice may have breached its contract with WMG predecessor WEA Records.

The band accused WMG of infringing its copyrights by continuing to exploit the works. It also asked the court to declare that its notices were valid as to other albums with future termination dates.

Separately, country musician Dwight Yoakam also sued WMG in February for allegedly failing to acknowledge his copyright termination notices.

The case is Reid v. Warner Music Group Corp., U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, No. 2:21-cv-04806.

For the band: Evan Cohen of Cohen Music Law and Bridget Hirsch of Byrnes Hirsch

Read more:

Warner’s silence has Dwight Yoakam singing the copyright-termination blues - lawsuit

Blake Brittain reports on intellectual property law, including patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. Reach him at blake.brittain@thomsonreuters.com

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