Bob Marley: Company loses bid to win back rights

Bob Marley performing in a concert in Paris in 1980 The court dispute centred on 13 songs, including the worldwide hit No Woman, No Cry

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A music company has lost its bid to win back the rights to 13 Bob Marley songs after a court battle in London.

Cayman Music had attempted to retrieve the rights to songs including No Woman, No Cry.

It claimed they were not included when it sold some of its rights in 1992 to Blue Mountain Music, as Marley, who died in 1981, had penned them under other people's names.

However the judge agreed the copyright had "passed" under the 1992 agreement.

Lawyers for Blue Mountain, who administer royalties for Marley's works, said they accepted the singer had "falsely claimed" the tracks - written between 1973 and 1976 - had been composed by other people in an attempt to "escape the automatic assignment of their copyright to Cayman".

But they said the "plain intention" of the two companies' agreement was to "transfer all rights", arguing on the "straightforward application of ordinary principles of contract law" the claim had to be dismissed.

In his written ruling, deputy High Court judge Richard Meade concluded Cayman had no rights to the songs because "Marley did not publicly describe himself as the author".

"He deliberately misattributed their authorship to various friends and associates. It is clear that his object in doing so was to gain control of the copyrights in the works and gain remuneration from them."

He added Marley claimed he had not been paid publishing royalties and "thought he had a genuine grievance" against Cayman.

The other songs involved in the dispute included as Crazy Baldhead, Johnny Was, Natty Dread, Positive Vibration, Rat Race, Rebel Music (Road Block), Talking Blues, Them Belly Full, Want More, War, Who The Cap Fit and So Jah She.

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