Burning Spear Seeks Rights to Songs

     MANHATTAN (CN) – Reggae legend Burning Spear claims in court that Florida-based Tammi Music reneged on a deal to return copyrights to dozens of his own songs, and refuses to provide an accounting of what they’ve earned.
     The July 2 lawsuit alleges that Tammi Music failed to follow through on a July 9, 2014, deal to sell Burning Spear, whose real name is Winston Rodney, “all right, title and interest” to 63 of his compositions.
     Rodney claims that under the terms of the agreement, he was to receive “songwriter agreements, copyright documents and information, license agreements, royalty statements, and other materials which are customarily required to administer musical copyrights” of the songs.
     In addition, he says, he bargained for the right to conduct a financial audit within one year’s time related to the earnings from his songs, and for all relevant documents to be sent to his Laurelton, N.Y. home.
     Rodney says despite closing the deal on July 30, 2014, Tammi Music has not turned over the documents, and that he has since had to identify other licensees and documentation that he had used his songs and that he is therefore owned back royalties.
     Additionally, Rodney says that in March he demanded the contracted financial audit of the music company, but that Tammi Music refused to cooperate.
     In November 2014, Rodney took his displeasure with the music publisher to YouTube, where he claimed that Tammi Music had been “bootlegging my own catalogue” and slandering his reputation.
     “I wasn’t singing to be famous or singing to be rich,” Rodney said in the video. “So matters like this you don’t talk about it too much, you take it to the court.”
     Rodney, who was born in Jamaica, is one of the world’s most renowned Reggae singers, and has been nominated for 12s Grammy awards. He won a Grammy in 2000 for the album “Calling Rastafari,” and again in 2009 for his studio album “Jah Is Real.” He is currently shooting a documentary about his influence on the Reggae music scene.
     Tammi Music was registered in 2009 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Sonia C. Taylor, whose LinkedIn profile says she is a Jamaican director.
     Neither Taylor nor any other representative of the company could be reached for comment.
     Rodney is represented by Willard Shih of Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer of Woodbridge, N.J.

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