Jim and William Reid are asking for over $2.5 million in damages.
The Reid brothers filed a lawsuit in California invoking section 203 of the US Copyright Act of 1976, which allows authors to ask copyright holders to revert rights 35 years after a work is published.
According to Reids’ lawyer, Evan S. Cohen, “our copyright law provides recording artists and songwriters with a valuable, once-in-a-lifetime chance to terminate old deals and regain their creative works after 35 years. This ‘second chance’ has always been a part of our copyright law”.
In light of that, the band sent, on 7 January 2019, sent a notice of termination to Warner Music Group for ‘Psychocandy’ along with 1987 album ‘Darklands’, 1988 compilation ‘Barbed Wire Kisses’, 1989’s ‘Automatic’ and 1992’s ‘Honey’s Dead’, along with various singles and EPs.
Rhino records attorney stated that “WMG is the owner of the copyrights throughout the world in each of the sound recordings comprising the Noticed Works, and the Notice is not effective to terminate WMG’s U.S. rights,” and that, when the group signed with WEA (WMG predecessor) in 1985, they made WEA as the “‘maker’ of the Noticed Works and the first owner of the copyright in the Noticed Works. (…) As a result, you never owned any copyrights in the recordings which you could terminate.”
The band’s attorney asserted that WMG was nevertheless infringing on the band’s copyright under United States law. The attorney is also currently representing multiple artists in a class-action copyright infringement suit filed against Sony and Universal Music Group, in 2019, which is also based around Section 203 of the Copyright Act.
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