British songwriters Paul Berry and Mark Taylor last week won ownership of the copyrights in a stack of songs they have written, including Cher hit ‘Believe’ and Enrique Iglesias’ ‘Hero’, after years of legal wrangling.
Frequent collaborators Berry and Taylor, the latter often also the producer of hits penned by the duo, were originally in dispute with Rive Droite Music who, they claimed, had under-accounted on songs created under a publishing deal with the company. Their dispute moved to US publisher Crosstown Music when they acquired the Rive Droite catalogue, including Berry and Taylor’s songs, in 2006.
A High Court ruling in the UK last year went in favour of the songwriters, awarding them ownership of the disputed songs on the basis of Rive Droite’s actions. But Crosstown appealed the ruling, arguing automatic reversion of copyrights was not possible under English copyright law, and that the London court did not have jurisdiction to order such reversion outside the UK.
But, according to Music Week, an appeal court last week rejected both those arguments, with Lord Justice Mummery saying: “I would dismiss the appeal on all grounds as Crosstown has not established that the [original] judge’s order is wrong in any respect … in my view, relatively straightforward questions of dealings in copyright were complicated by Crosstown’s convoluted and, in my view, misconceived legal arguments”.
The copyrights, therefore, revert to Berry and Taylor.