New York Judge Allows Class-Action Copyright Termination Lawsuit to Proceed Against Sony Music

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A New York court has allowed a class-action lawsuit filed against Sony Music to proceed. 

Earlier this week, Digital Music News was the first to report that a different (albeit similar) class-action lawsuit against Universal Music had also been allowed to move forward. Now, Judge Edgardo Ramos has denied a motion to dismiss from Sony Music, and unless a settlement is reached, the matter will head to the courtroom. 

The New York Dolls’ David Johansen, John Lyon (more commonly known as Southside Johnny), and veteran musician Paul Collins are named as plaintiffs in the filing. 

In summary, the case centers on Section 203 of 1976’s Copyright Act. Per Section 203’s text, those responsible for creating copyrighted content (in or after 1978) on behalf of companies may be eligible to terminate (and regain ownership) of the media’s copyright 35 years following its release. Artists, actors, and other entertainment-industry professionals are attempting to secure control of their copyrights via Section 203. 

Addressing the court’s decision to allow the class-action lawsuit against Sony Music to proceed, Blank Rome lawyer and plaintiffs’ counsel Ryan Cronin said: “We are pleased that Judge Ramos denied Sony’s motion, and we look forward to proceeding with the litigation to vindicate the recording artists’ rights.”

David Johansen is seeking the termination of five copyrights: his 1978 debut solo album, David Johansen, 1979’s The David Johansen Group Live and In Style, 1981’s Here Comes the Night, and 1982’s Live it Up

Southside Johnny is attempting to terminate the copyrights for 1978’s Hearts of Stone (which was produced by E Street Band member and The Sopranos star Steven Van Zandt) and 1979’s Havin’ a Party With Southside Johnny. 

Finally, Paul Collins’s copyright-termination request pertains to 1979’s The Beat and 1982’s The Kids are the Same

Judge Ramos has ordered both parties to participate in a telephone conference on the afternoon of April 22nd.

One Response

  1. Angelito

    So, this lawsuit concerns the sound recording copyright, and not the composition copyright?