Jimi Hendrix was an American musician, singer, songwriter and considered a legend as one of the most influential electric guitarists in the history of contemporary music (even though his career only spanned four years). Unfortunately, in 1970, Hendrix died, and his musical genius was short lived. Nevertheless, his music and legacy continue to grow. Although Hendrix was the front runner, Hendrix worked alongside his band mates David Noel Redding and John Graham Mitchell. Redding died in 2003 whilst Mitchell died in 2008.
Earlier this year the estate of the Hendrix Experience allegedly brought a claim against the estates of Hendrix’s former bandmates following a “bogus” claim for copyright infringement. The estates of Redding and Mitchell claimed the Hendrix estate had not paid any royalties to them from the profits of the songs created between Hendrix, Redding and Mitchell, for decades. It was claimed this would amount to “millions of pounds” in unpaid royalties.
In its response, the Hendrix estate claimed that following the death of Hendrix in 1970, both Redding and Mitchell entered into agreements which included ‘broad general releases’ covering any future claims against the Hendrix estate. Both Redding and Mitchell were paid a considerate sum for entering into these agreements and as a result do not have any rights remaining in the creation of the songs, which are now owned by Sony. The estates of Redding and Mitchell do not agree with the Hendrix estate and claim that the 50 year old agreements entered into following the death of Hendrix so to settle his estate are unenforceable.
The estate of Hendrix has since filed a Declaratory Judgment action in the US, requesting a ruling which states that the estate does not owe the estates of Redding and Mitchell as a result of these prior agreements.
If you find yourself on the receiving end of a copyright infringement action or think someone else has copied your work, or even if you just want advice regarding ownership of material and contracts/licenses, here at Briffa our specialist solicitors are always on hand to help. Please do not hesitate to contact us at email@example.com or on 020 72886003 for a free consultation.
Written by Tom Staveley – Solicitor
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