Sorry about that poor-pun title, readers…
By Fred Mills
The late Marc Bolan essentially WAS T Rex (“Bang a Gong”; “Telegram Sam”; you may have heard of him…). He died in a car wreck in 1977, yielding a massively cottage industry of reissues and licensing… but to whom?
Billboard.com reports: “Last week, Rolan Feld, the son of T Rex frontman Marc Bolan filed a lawsuit in California federal court that seeks a declaration that he is now the sole owner of many of Bolan’s famous songs.”
This sets up a potentially precedent-setting court case, for as the report continues, “In many instances when an author or his or her heirs seeks to grab back rights – either because of an automatic copyright reversion or through a maneuver called ‘termination” – a publisher will argue that the work was made in an employment context as a “work made for hire.’ In such cases, it’s the publisher who is deemed to be the true author as far as the law goes. In the case of the T Rex songs, public copyright registrations don’t indicate any work made for hire issues… Feld is pointing to ways that the defendants are allegedly exploiting T Rex songs, streaming it on a MySpace web page and licensing others to use the composition. Thus, there’s allegations that the publishers have committed copyright infringement and conversion and that Feld is entitled to millions of dollars in damages.” (Go to: http://www.scribd.com/doc/154515492/Feld-v-Westminster)
Bang a gong, indeed. It’s a clanging sound that thousands, if not millions, of artists and/or their heirs may be listening to.