Fleetwood loses claim for BBC masters

March 2008

Record labels

Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac has lost his long-running legal battle against the Beeb in relation to the distribution rights of session recordings from the BBC’s archives. The dispute was between Fleetwood’s company Bee Load Ltd and the BBC’s commercial division BBC Worldwide. The former entered into a contract with the latter back in 2001 giving Fleetwood’s company the right to release CDs featuring various BBC recordings of artists like Bruce Springsteen, U2, The Who, The Stones, The Beatles, Elton John, Santana and Led Zeppelin. The relationship fell apart in 2003, though, and Fleetwood claimed the Beeb were in breach of contract for refusing to work with his company, and sued through the US courts for damages (Bee Load being primarily based in the US). However, a judge in Maine last week ruled in favour of the BBC, concluding that it was Fleetwood’s business partner, Joseph McNulty, who caused the business deal to fault, because he became “obsessed” with gaining exclusivity rights for distributing the BBC recordings, even though such rights were not part of the 2001 deal. BBC Worldwide, the judge ruled, did everything they could do to make the deal work despite McNulty’s obsession with exclusivity, and could not be held liable for the ultimate collapse of the business relationship. The issue was decided in a bankruptcy court in Portland, Bee Load’s main place of business, when the company filed for protection under US bankruptcy law.


and from the CMU Daily www.cmumusicnetwork.co.uk

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