Marley’s family lost a lawsuit seeking the copyrights to several of the late Jamaican reggae singer’s best-known recordings.
A US District Judge in Manhattan said the UMG Recordings unit of the Universal Music Group is the rightful owner of copyrights to five albums that Marley had recorded between 1973 and 1977 for Island Records. The albums “Catch a Fire,” “Burnin’,” “Natty Dread,” “Rastaman Vibrations” and “Exodus” were recorded with Marley’s band The Wailers. They include some of Marley’s best-known songs, including “Get Up, Stand Up,” “I Shot the Sheriff,” “No Woman, No Cry” and “One Love.”
The Marley’s accused the company of holding back royalties from their company Fifty-Six Hope Road Music Ltd, and ignoring a 1995 agreement assigning them rights under the original recording agreements, court papers show.
It also accused UMG of failing as required to consult with them on key licensing decisions, including the use of Marley’s music as ringtones.
But the judge ruled that Marley’s recordings were “works made for hire” as defined under US copyright law, entitling UMG to be the owner of the albums.
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