Rights Recapture

Community property comes in all forms. including copyright royalty income For family law attorneys tasked with insuring a fair divide copyright royalty income in dissolution proceedings, the task can be a real challenge to divide the assets and make certain their clients get honestly paid.

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Cheryl L. Hodgson

Stories abound of songwriters and recording artists “who never received a dime” in royalties. Can anything be done to right the wrong?

An earlier article discussed recapture of rights based upon statutory notices of termination. In this article, review principles found in cases that offers alternative ways for artists, songwriters and recording artists to recover their rights based upon failure to account and pay.

Is it possible to recover title to the asset, namely the songs or the master recordings, or even recover unpaid royalties which have never been paid? Of course, the lawyerly response is, “it depends.” Since our firm successfully rescinded the recording agreements for the 1960’s group The Kingsmen, and recovered title to their hit record Louie Louie there are options. Unpaid composers, writers and recording groups may, instead

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California Copyright Conference

October 15, 2012

On November 13, 2012 Cheryl Hodgson will be discussing the various ways in which artists and composers can recapture of rights in songs and masters based upon termination and non-payment of royalties. The discussion will include a review of the recent jury verdict finding the publisher of the Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds hit “Fallin’ In Love” guilty of defrauding the widow of Dan Hamilton.

The CCC presents monthly panel discussions of interest to music industry professionals. Visit the CCC website for more information

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Musicians: Double Your Royalty Income

October 11, 2012

By Cheryl L. Hodgson

ROYALTIES:  usage-based payments made by one party (the “licensee”) to another (the “licensor”) for the right to ongoing use of an asset, sometimes an intellectual property (IP).

Authors routinely transfer ownership of the copyright in creative works to music publishers, record companies, book publishers, and other distributors of copyrighted works.  

Recapture of valuable income producing copyrights will often double income from future U.S exploitation.

Artists say “Give us back our songs and masters!”

Here are three possible ways to recapture rights:

  • Statutory- “It’s been nice, pay me what’s fair or I’m out of here.”
  • Judicial- “You forgot to pay me so I’m taking my work and going home.”
  • Contractual- “I had a great lawyer the first time around”

In this article, we explore the statutory, copyright termination right, found in the U.S. Copyright Act.  (Our next article explores the judicial and contractual means of recapture, in which we examine the precedent setting case of the “Louie Louie” master in which our firm recaptured rights to the Kingsmen masters, and a more recent jury verdict involving Hamilton Joe Frank and Reynolds. Read the judge’s decision in that Hodgson Legal precedent-setting case.

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