Crosstown traffic – automatic reversion of music copyrights

July 2009

Music publishing
Crosstown Music Company 1, LLC v Rive Droite Music Limited & ors [2009] EWHC 600.

By Ed Baden-Powell, Solicitor at Michael Simkins LLP. Ed says “If you are buying some hit songs, it is a question – rather like when hitching an intergalactic ride – of knowing where your towel” (as Douglas Adams once said) adding “A recent case, Crosstown v Rive Droite, (2) upheld a reversion of copyright to songwriters – widely regarded as a bad move if you are a publisher.  This was despite the fact that the copyright in the songs concerned had already been assigned by the writers’ publisher, Rive Droite, to a third party, Crosstown.  Further, the writers did not serve the notices of breach that ultimately triggered the reversion until some ten months after the assignment. The case has been causing quite a stir in music publishing circles.  But, for publishers and purchasers of song catalogues, this is a case that should have “DON’T PANIC” written in large, friendly letters on the cover”. For the full article go to  and the full article can also be found in the Entertainment Law Review (Volume 20 Issue 7).

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