David Johansen, John Waite and other prominent musicians from the 1970s filed a lawsuit on Tuesday in which Sony Music Entertainment Inc. and UMG Recordings Inc. accused of wrongly refusing to have them claim rights to numbers they had signed long ago.
The proposed class disputes filed in Manhattan's federal court, say that American copyright law songwriters who negotiated their work under unfavorable conditions give a "second chance" to claim back their rights by submitting termination notifications after 35 years.
But they said that Sony and UMG "routinely and systematically" ignored hundreds of notices, especially because they considered the "works made for letting" numbers in the context of their withdrawals and therefore were not subject to recovery.
The aforementioned prosecutors in the Sony case are Johansen, formerly of the New York Dolls and those as Buster Poindexter & Hot Hot Hot & # 39; recordings, John Lyon, who acts as Southside Johnny; and Paul Collins, known from the Paul Collins Beat.
Claimants who sue UMG, a unit of Vivendi SA from France, include Waite, formerly of The Babys and later known for its 1984 hit & # 39; Missing You & # 39 ;, and Joe Ely, a guitarist who has performed with The Clash , Bruce Springsteen and others.
Sony and UMG did not immediately respond to requests for comments.
The claimants are represented by the law firm Blank Rome and by Evan Cohen, a lawyer from Los Angeles.
"We represent more than 100 artists from the late '70s and early' 80s who want to own their US copyright, but are bounced by Sony and Universal after they have sent messages," Cohen said in an interview . "In many cases we are talking about artists who have never received royalties from the recordings."
Both lawsuits relate to artists who served with termination notifications on 1 January 2013 or later.
They ask for orders that demand that the notifications be complied with, financial damage and other remedies.
The cases are Waite et al. V. UMG Recordings Inc., District Court in the United States, Southern District of New York, No. 19-01091; and Johansen et al. Against Sony Music Entertainment Inc in the same court, No. 19-01094.
(Report by Jonathan Stamp in New York; Editor by Tom Brown)
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