Music company loses rights to Bob Marley songs

2014-06-05 13:32

London - A music company on Wednesday lost a court battle in Britain to retain the lucrative rights over 13 songs by Jamaican reggae legend Bob Marley, including his hit No Woman, No Cry.

Cayman Music had launched the challenge against Blue Mountain Music - a company responsible for administering royalties for Marley's works - for 13 songs written between 1973 and 1976.

It said that under an agreement struck in 1992 - 11 years after Marley's death - it should have been accorded copyright to the songs.

But in actual fact, Cayman received nothing because Marley had "fraudulently" attributed the songs to others to avoid the terms of a deal he signed with Cayman in 1973, the company's lawyers said.

Blue Mountain's lawyers accepted Marley "falsely claimed" the songs had been written by others in a bid to "escape the automatic assignment of their copyright to Cayman".

But they said it was "common ground" that as a matter of law the "ruse was ineffective". The "plain intention" of the 1992 agreement was to "transfer all rights", they claimed.

In his ruling on the case, judge Richard Meade concluded that Cayman had no rights to the songs because "Marley did not publicly describe himself as the author".

Besides No Woman, No Cry, the other songs involved were Crazy Baldhead; Johnny Was; Natty Dread; Positive Vibration; Rat Race; Rebel Music (Road Block); Talking Blues; Them Belly Full; Want More; War; Who The Cap Fit and So Jah She.

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