Duran Duran lose ‘ugly, imperialist’ legal battle


Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes and John and Roger Taylor failed in their case against publisher Gloucester Place Music, owned by Sony/ATV.

“It’s old fashioned, ugly, imperalist, corporate greed,” singer Simon Le Bon wrote on social media.

“And how they continue to exploit artists who signed when they were naive and vulnerable,” he added.

The decision stops the band from ending copyright agreements related to their first three albums.

It’s old fashioned, ugly, imperialist, corporate greed, & how they continue to exploit artists who signed when they were naive & vulnerable

— Simon Le Bon (@SimonJCLeBON) 2 December 2016

Those albums include the hits Duran Duran, Rio and Seven And The Ragged Tiger, as well as Bond track A View To A Kill.

Under US copyright laws, songwriters have “an inalienable right” to reclaim their copyright after 35 years.

But judge Mr Justice Arnold ruled English contract laws barred Duran Duran from reclaiming the rights.

He said the band’s arguments were “finely balanced” but in the end “not without hesitation” he had ruled against them.

Members of British new wave pop group Duran Duran
Image Caption:English contract law barred the group from reclaiming their rights in the US

“I conclude that the group members have acted in breach of the agreements by serving the notices, or, where they have not yet taken effect, will do so if they are not withdrawn,” he added.

Many UK songwriters have signed similar agreements with big publishing companies, and the action is being seen as a test case which could spread across the industry.

“Now that everyone can see how the company treats their artists,” Le Bon said.

“I can’t imagine how Sony/ATV expect to sign any new songwriter ever again.”


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