Pedophile Gary Glitter Isn’t Earning a Dime from ‘Joker,’ Universal Music Insists

People were understandably upset that film director Todd Phillips chose Gary Glitter’s “Rock and Roll Part 2” in his movie “Joker,” considering that Glitter is serving a 16-year sentence for child sex abuse.

But those who currently own the rights to the song insist that Glitter will not profit from the song’s inclusion in the film.

In January of 1997, just before Glitter’s legal problems started, Snapper Music — which is a record label in England — purchased the rights to all of Glitter’s master recordings. A spokesperson for Snapper says that not only do they not pay Glitter for the use of “Rock and Roll Part 2,” which has appeared in many films, but that they have had “no contact with him.”

Snapper also notes that it does not sell physical Gary Glitter records. His songs are only available through streaming services and downloads.

In the United States, songwriting rights to “Rock and Roll Part 2” belong to Universal Music Publishing Group, which represents Glitter, and to BMG, which represents the estate of the late Mike Leander, who co-wrote “Rock and Roll Part 2.” According to Universal, they own all of Glitter’s publishing interests relating to the copyrights of his songs. Therefore, they do not pay him for the use of his songs.

What the statements leave out, however, is the enormous sums likely paid to secure ownership of Glitter’s recording and publishing rights. Those payouts were made with the intent to exploit lucrative songs like “Rock and Roll Part 2,” meaning that Glitter has already profited handsomely — just not directly from Joker and other current and future placements.

And make no mistake: both companies earn lots of money from “Rock and Roll Part 2.”

According to Billboard, as of 2014, the song was earning a quarter of a million dollars every year in royalties. It is believed that the producers of Joker paid somewhere between $100,000 and $200,000 for the rights to the song, which was roughly split between Universal and Snapper.

In 1997, authorities in England arrested Glitter on child pornography charges, and he was eventually convicted. Later, he spent time in a Vietnam prison for sexual-related crimes. Finally, in 2015, a London court sentenced him to prison, where he is expected to remain for another 12 years.

6 Responses

  1. Anon

    All of these companies could easily avoid this bad press by donating all proceeds from Glitter’s songs to charities that help to prevent child exploitation.

  2. Messed Up World

    Despite his crimes, as a co-writer of the song he should earn something, as the publishing company, record company, movie company are all making money from it.

    So where’s the moral high ground there…
    Should there even be a high moral ground when it comes to ancient pop and rock music.

    The song was made years before any of the illegal activities took place and was a massive smash hit in1972, that’s 47 years ago.

    It’s also punishing composer / producer Mike Leander (RIP) who was the musical mastermind behind this and many other non related songs and records.

    Leander created that incredible drum, bass, guitar sounds.. this was in the days of
    very basic studios.. Really it’s a Mile Leander record and I hope the Leander estate is benefiting from the songs popularity.

    There’s a tendency to re-write history, really in the context of the movie it’s all about the song and the record and fitting it to the scene, and it works brilliantly.

  3. Dean Hajas

    My heart and passions as a father first and foremost to any child who suffered or suffers at the hands of any perpetrator of sexual misconduct. They have certainly a sickness in their minds and deserve to be put in safe distance from children for ever. The children have had their innocence interrupted by a criminal act and should be afforded all the resources available for healing.

    That said:
    It is against Copyright Law to just assume Royalties, and remunerations. The Berne Convention and Rome Treaty are implicit in the case of an artists death and the duration for their royalties. All payments of the use of this music as Gary are being treated as though he has deceased, should go to the family. They have their Moral Rights in tact, and I say shame on the record company and publishing for their part in justifying licensing of music, “but not to worry Gary Glitter, the creator of the music isn’t getting a penny”? I remind the Universal Music Publishing – BMG and Snapper Music, families have the exclusive right to those proceeds…and I would advise them to make a Class Action immediately. What the heck are you people thinking?

  4. Sam

    Whatever! They are his songs and he should get the money. His crimes are a separate issue to others using his work. I’m not advocating for him as a person, but the rights of creators overall.

  5. Messed Up

    Unless it’s from the proceeds of a crime then royalties of an ancient rock pop song from 47 years ago still should go to the legal entity that represents the interests of the composers or their estates.

    The song wasn’t stolen, the productions costs were covered from the proceeds of a crime, the record was released decades before its front person was charged with those appalling crimes.

    The real artist on this record is actually Mike Leander (RIP) who composed and arranged the music and played the drums, bass and guitar and performed handclaps.