Bob Marley’s Family Loses Copyright Fight

According to BBC news, an attempt by Bob Marley’s family to obtain copyright to some of his best-known recordings has been denied by a judge in New York Judge Denise Cote. She ruled in favor of Universal Music Group (UMG) as owner of the copyright to five albums that the late reggae singer recorded between 1973 and 1977 for Island Records. These are: Catch a Fire, Burnin’, Natty Dread, Rastaman Vibrations, and Exodus.

Marley’s widow and children had accused UMG of exploiting the late performer’s music and intentionally withholding royalties from their Fifty-Six Hope Road Music company. They also claimed UMG had failed to consult with them on key licensing decisions, among them the use of Marley’s music on ringtones.

On Friday, however, Judge Cote ruled that Marley’s recordings were “works made for hire” as defined under US copyright law, making UMG the owner as parent company of Island Records.

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