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Major labels SME and UMG are facing class action lawsuits filed at the New York District Court in an attempt by a number of authors to reclaim the copyrights to their music under the so-called 35-year law.


  • David Johansen, John Lyon, and Paul Collins were named in the legal action against SME, while John Waite and Joe Ely are part of the action against UMG.
  • According to the lawsuits, both record companies have refuted the artists' termination rights claims on the grounds that the sound recordings are "works made for hire" and so not available for termination under US copyright law.

Features and Benefits

  • Details the two cases brought by a number of artists against SME and UMG to reclaim their rights ownership.
  • Explains what the right of copyright termination is and how it works.

Key questions answered

  • What are termination rights and who can apply them?
  • What arguments have been put forward in the cases against SME and UMG?

Table of contents

Ovum view

  • Summary
  • Taking back control of sound recordings
  • A win for Willis on the issue of coauthor termination
  • No joy for Duran Duran; McCartney settles out of court
  • New class action claims to termination rights


  • Author