Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law

Lawsuit filed by Chuck D against his publisher

New Jersey music lovers might be interested in a recent lawsuit filed by Chuck D against Reach Global Music, the Public Enemy founder's publisher. The lawsuit was filed in California on Oct. 15.

According to the pleadings, Chuck D alleged that Reach Global Music fraudulently registered some of his works with the U.S. Copyright Office. He claimed that the songs were represented as being owned by a joint venture company instead of as being owned by himself alone.

Chuck D has worked with Michael Closter, the owner of Reach Global, since 2001. The partnership involved Chuck D's publishing rights to songs for which he had required interests. The pair formed a new company called Terrordome Music Publishing, and both Chuck D's company and Reach Global were shareholders of the new company. The parties are in dispute over whether Chuck D's intent in 2002 was for the joint venture company to own the music or whether it was simply supposed to administer the use of his music for Chuck D's benefit. The lawsuit also contends that Terrordome and Closter registered new songs by Chuck D with the U.S. Copyright Office, representing them as being owned by the company instead of by Chuck D in his own right.

Copyright ownership disputes can be complex. People who deal with copyright disputes over their intellectual property might want to consult with an experienced intellectual property litigation attorney about their rights and potential remedies. An attorney might help clients to secure an injunction prohibiting the further use of the copyrighted material by the defendant and to recover damages to make the clients financially whole again.

Source: Complete Music Update, "Chuck D files lawsuit in music publisher dispute", Chris Cooke, Oct. 18, 2019

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Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law - Intellectual Property

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