CONTRACT / COPYRIGHT
Record labels

CMU Daily reports that the estate of the late record label exec Stephen Popovich is trying to seize ownership of the sound recording copyrights in the iconic Meat Loaf album ‘Bat Out Of Hell’, currently owned by Sony Music. Popovich, whose Cleveland International Records released ‘Bat Out Of Hell’ in 1977 in partnership with the exec’s former employer Epic Records, had various run ins with Sony. Sony has owned Epic from the late 1980s onwards. Popovitch claimed that the major frequently misreported royalties and underpay him his share, and he also sued when Sony failed to fulfil a contractual commitment to include the Cleveland International logo on all releases of the album. A 1998 lawsuit ended in an out of court settlement, while in 2002 litigation – in part based on allegations Sony had breached the 1998 agreement – resulted in  Popovich being awarded $5 million in damages

Popovich died in June 2011and his estate has taken up the ongoing battle with Sony. In a new lawsuit the estate claims that Sony continues to violate the terms of its agreements with Cleveland International Records, accusing the major of a number of fraudulent acts to underpay the Cleveland its due on ‘Bat Out Of Hell’ revenue. The lawsuit adds that the estate doesn’t know how much is owed because Sony, it claims, has refused permission to undertake an audit. The lawsuit claims full accounts from Sony, payment of any unpaid royalties and damages and argues that the repeated breaches by Sony mean that the rights in master recordings of the Meat Loaf album should revert to Cleveland International. The estate is seeking a court injunction to confirm that fact, and to prevent Sony from distributing the record.

www.thecmuwebsite.com 3rd October 2011