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Ennio Morricone Scores Big Appellate Win in Copyright Termination Suit

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Ennio Morricone Scores Big Appellate Win in Copyright Termination Suit

Postby MrFredPFL » Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:09 pm

Story :

Legendary composer Ennio Morricone was handed a major legal win Wednesday when an appellate court held he can reclaim rights for six Italian films he scored about four decades ago.

In the late 1970s and early '80s, Morricone made deals with an affiliate of defendant Bixio Music Group that gave him an upfront payment and limited royalties and gave the company his rights in the works.

Morricone (The Good, the Bad & the Ugly; The Hateful Eight) in November 2016 sued to reclaim rights to the scores after sending termination notices pursuant to the 1976 Copyright Act, which allows authors to reclaim rights 35 years after publication. He lost the bid in October 2017 when a New York federal judge deemed the scores to be the Italian equivalent of works for hire, which precludes the composer's termination rights.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit on Wednesday reversed that decision, finding that the scores weren't works for hire under U.S. or Italian law. The court notes that the two countries don't define authorship the same way — and in Italy a composer is considered a joint-author of the film in which his or her work is used and is the sole author of the score itself. It's the author who can terminate rights under U.S. copyright law.


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