Apple Corp to take action over Hamburg tapes

April 2008

Artists, record labels

The Beatles company, Apple Corps, has confirmed that it is planning legal action against Miami based Fuego Entertainment, Inc., which is planning on releasing live recordings of the Beatles singing various cover version during their pre-fame residency days in Hamburg. Apple have filed a suit in the Miami Federal Court. Fuego say they acquired the rights to the recordings from Jeffrey Collins, a producer and promoter who says he represented the DJ who actually recorded the live Beatles show at Hamburg’s Star Club back in 1962. Collins says the DJ who recorded the gig had permission to do so from the venue and it appears the permission of the band. Under UK copyright law the copyright would be owned by the person who facilitated the recordings – here the DJ.

Ben Challis adds “in the UK, S9 of the Copyright Designs & Patents Act 1988 does provide that, in the absence of any contractual provisions to the contrary, the person who makes the arrangements necessary for the making of the recording (eg makes the arrangements, pays for and/or facilitates a sound recording) will be the owner. The case of Bassey v Icon limits this to the extent that any rights granted to the owner may be very specific – here as the permission given to the owners was to make the master copy only and so none of the other CDPA S16 “restricted acts” were granted to the person who made the copy – the nominal owner – and so subsequently no copies could be issued to the public and the recording could not be commercially released. Bassey was subsequently distinguished in Aston Barrett v Universal Records and it is certainly possible for the consent to be implied although it would very much depend on the facts at the time and agreement made with the DJ. It also seems that Fuego chief Hugo Cancio has said that “it’s unfair to millions of Beatles fans not to allow this recording to be put out. The world deserves to hear these tracks”. An interesting point but unfortunately for Mr Cancio one that is not supported in UK copyright law nor do I think US law.



For Aston Barret v Universal-island Records and 12 Others [2006] EWHC 1009 (Ch) see and Music Law Updates June 2006 and see

Bassey v. Icon Entertainment Plc [1995] EMLR 596

For UK performers rights also see:
Experience Hendrix LLC v Purple Haze Records Ltd (2005) EWHC 249 (Ch)

And see

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