Source: All England Reporter
Publisher Citation: [2016] All ER (D) 106 (Dec)
Neutral Citation: [2016] EWHC 3091 (Ch)
Court: Chancery Division

Arnold J

Representation Ian Mill QC and Andrew Scott (instructed by Lee & Thompson) for the claimant.
  Michael Bloch QC (instructed by Russells) for the first to fourth and sixth to eleventh defendants.
  The fifth and twelfth defendants did not appear and were not represented.
Judgment Dates: 2 December 2016


Copyright - Assignment - Termination - Contract - Construction - Breach - Non-derogation from grant - Defendants being current or former members of pop group 'Duran Duran' and service companies - First to fifth defendants entering into music publishing agreements (agreements) with claimant company assigning copyright in works written or composed by group member during term of agreements in return for payment of advances and royalties - Claimant seeking declaration that defendants in breach of agreements by serving notices, under United States legislation, terminating assignments - True construction of agreements - Whether defendants in breach of agreements.

The Case

Copyright Assignment. The Chancery Division held that, on the true construction of music publishing agreements entered into by the parties, the defendant former or current members of Duran Duran and their service companies had acted in breach of those agreements by serving notices, under s 203 of the United States Copyright Act 1976, terminating assignments to the claimant of the US copyrights in songs, which included some of Duran Duran's best-known hits.

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