Loren Donald Pearson

Loren Donald Pearson is a Registered Patent Attorney and a Florida Bar Board Certified Intellectual Property Attorney.  He is a partner at Assouline & Berlowe, PA and leads its intellectual property group.  Read his profile

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Entries in Music (2)


Village People Singer Wins Battle to Terminate Label's Copyright

Village People singer, Victor Willis, won a judgement from a California Court dismissing his record label's request to prevent him from terminating the label's rights to the music that he wrote.

The termination of a copyright transfer under Section 203 went into effect in 1978.  However, because the provision requires 35 years from the transfer, only the first works are becoming eligible.

As the New York Times reports:

The termination rights provision was included in a revision of copyright law that went into effect in 1978, meaning that recording artists and songwriters can in 2013 begin to regain ownership of work whose control they signed away early in their careers, when they had little bargaining power. As a result, artists like Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, the Eagles and other big names from the 1970s will soon be eligible to reclaim ownership of recordings that have sold millions of copies and made millions of dollars for song publishers and the four major record companies. Sales of recorded music have dropped by more than half since 2000.

To terminate a transferee's copyrights, specific notice provisions must be followed.


Unusual Remedy for Copyright Infringement for an Unusal Artist

In addition to an undisclosed financial settlement, Former Florida Governor Charlie Crist issued a public apology for using the Talking Head's song, "Road to Nowhere" without permission in a political advertisement in his 2010 US Senate campaign.  The apology was posted on YouTube.

Public apologies are not typical in lawsuit settlements, but David Byrne is not a conventional plaintiff.  In this case he seemed concerned with controlling his right to license his work to consumers that he chooses and to shedding light onto the problem of political campaigns stealing music.

David Byrne's Blog

NY Times Article on Byrne v. Crist Settlement

The first step for taking control of who is using your creative work (i.e. music, photographs, text, or computer program) is to register your copyrights.  Then, with a registered copyright, you have a powerful tool to sue for copyright infringement or license your work.