The band had argued that US copyright laws gave them the right to call for a reversion of copyright after 35 years for some of their most famous songs.
Duran Duran have lost a High Court battle over the US copyrights of their first three albums as well as Bond theme ‘A View to a Kill’.
Duran Duran have lost their High Court battle
The band had argued in court that, due to US copyright laws, they had right to call for a reversion of copyright after 35 years.
However publishers Gloucester Place Music, which is owned by US label Sony/ATV, claimed that English laws of contract prevented them from being able to claim back the copyrights.
They argued that the band had breached music publishing agreements by serving notices to terminate the grant to the company of US copyrights for their first three albums and the 1985 Bond theme.
The High Court judge, Mr Justice Arnold, said in court that the arguments were “finely balanced” but in the end, “not without hesitation, I have come to the conclusion that the [Gloucester Place] interpretation of the agreements is the correct one”.
“I conclude that [the group members] have acted in breach of the agreements by serving the notices, or, where they have not yet taken effect, will do so if they are not withdrawn,” he added.
In a statement, founding member NICK RHODES said: “We signed a publishing agreement as unsuspecting teenagers, over three decades ago, when just starting out and when we knew no better.
“Today, we are told that language in that agreement allows our long-time publishers, Sony/ATV, to override our statutory rights under US law.
“We are shocked that English contract law is being used to overturn artists’ rights in another territory. If left untested, this judgment sets a very bad precedent for all songwriters of our era and so we are deciding how properly to proceed.”
The case was being viewed as a test case which could affect other UK artists who signed similar longstanding contracts with publishing companies.