Hendrix Estate wins infringement action for 1969 recording: Experience Hendrix LLC v Purple Haze Record Ltd and Another

June 2005


A performance by the late Jimi Hendrix with his band the Jimi Hendrix Experience in Stockholm in 1969 has been found to be subject to the retrospective provisions of the Copyright Designs & Patents Act 1988 and the later Copyright & Related Rights Regulations 1996. The High Court upheld an infringement claim by Experience Hendrix LLC (successors in title to Jimi Hendrix’s estate) against defendants Purple Haze Records Ltd and Lawrence Miller who had released the recording as an album. At the time of the Stockholm recording, UK law only offered criminal sanctions against unauthorised recordings. The so called ‘performers right’ was introduced in 1988 but was conferred retrospectively. Even though held in Stockholm in 1969 the High Court held that Hendrix’s personal performer’s right could be asserted as Stockholm was a country designated as receiving reciprocal protection in 1969 and in 1995 became a EU member. Mr Justice Hart held that both the performance itself (which could be individually owned by Mr Hendrix even if part of a band performance) and the place of performance fell within the scope of the Act. Summary judgement was given against Purple Haze Records Limited and Mr Miller.

Source: The Times Law Report 5th May 2005
Copyright & Related Rights Regulations (SI 1996 No 2967)

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