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Universal Music settles rock artists' US copyright lawsuit

Post Time:2024-03-21 Source:Reuters Author: Blake Brittain Views:

March 20 (Reuters) - A group of rock musicians who signed contracts with record labels now owned by Universal Music Group (UMG.AS) in the 1970s and 80s have settled a lawsuit against UMG over their attempts to reclaim their copyrights, according to a Wednesday filing in New York federal court.

UMG and the musicians, who include singer-songwriter Syd Straw and members of rock bands The Dickies and The Dream Syndicate, told the court that they had entered into a confidential settlement agreement and asked the court to dismiss the case.

Representatives for UMG and attorneys for the musicians did not immediately respond to requests for comment and more information on the settlement on Wednesday. The parties previously told the court in December that they had settled the dispute in principle.

A provision of U.S. copyright law allows artists to terminate their copyright-transfer agreements and reclaim their rights after decades in some circumstances. Musicians who had signed contracts with UMG predecessors sued UMG in 2019 for allegedly rejecting their termination notices and continuing to sell their music without permission.

UMG argued that the musicians' songs were "works made for hire" for the labels and that the termination right did not apply to them.

U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan dealt the artists a blow last year when he determined that they could not represent a larger class of musicians who sent termination notices to UMG.

A separate group of musicians that included New York Dolls singer David Johansen settled a related lawsuit against Sony Music (6758.T) last month.

The UMG case is Waite v. UMG Recordings Inc, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, No. 1:19-cv-01091.