Court Rules In Bob Marley Royalties Dispute
A High Court in the UK has handed down a ruling in a case that saw two rival music companies fighting over the rights to some of Bob Marley’s most popular songs, including “No Woman, No Cry,” MSN UK reports.
The court battle, which was previously reported by The Inquisitr, involved 13 songs Marley wrote between October 1973 and October 1976. After entering into a publishing deal with Cayman Music, Marley allegedly attributed the authorship of the songs to friends and family members in order to avoid the provisions of the contract. Surprisingly, Marley often engaged in the practice, crediting his songs to people like his wife, Rita, and son, Stephen, as well as other close friends of the Marley family.
In 1992, 11 years after Marley’s death, Cayman entered into an agreement with Blue Mountain Music, transferring the copyrights to Marley’s songs. Cayman claimed at trial that the 13 songs were not transferred to Blue Mountain as a part of that agreement. Blue Mountain asked for Cayman’s claim to Marley’s songs to be dismissed on the ”straightforward application of ordinary principles of contract law,” alleging that Marley’s false claim that other people had written the songs was an ineffective ruse.
The High Court agreed, dismissing Cayman’s claim to Marley’s songs. Judge Meade, who presided over the hearing, concluded that the copyrights to the 13 songs transferred to Blue Mountain as a result of the 1992 agreement, saying that “Accordingly, the claim fails.”
Strangely enough, this isn’t the only time that Bob Marley’s legacy has been battled over recently. Late last year, the Marley family issued a cease and desist order to a Jamaican singer named Fabian Marley, who claims he is the illegitimate child of Bob Marley. As The Jamaica Observer reports, even a DNA test wasn’t enough to convince the family that Fabian Marley, who uses the moniker Gong Kid, was one of their own.
The dispute between the companies is no inconsequential matter. Among the songs in question is Marley’s biggest hit, “No Woman, No Cry,” a massive success for the Jamaican singer. The song has long been credited to Vincent Ford, a friend of Marley’s who ran a soup kitchen in the singer’s hometown of Kingston, Jamaica. Marley’s back catalog earns $9 million annually, as The Inquisitr previously reported, and while there is no way to know how much of that revenue is at stake with the court’s verdict, “No Woman, No Cry” is indisputably Bob Marley’s biggest hit.