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Friday, May 24, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Tangled Fight Over ‘Thousands’ of Songs

(CN) - A music publishing group owned by the widow of composer Bill Loose refused to release fraudulent registrations of thousands of songs after its agent, who allegedly registered the songs without the group's knowledge, lost a default judgment over the illegal registrations, Carbert Music and Carlin Recorded Music Library claim in Manhattan Federal Court.

Carbert Music is publisher of more than 150,000 songs from all music genres, including "Back in Black" by AC/DC, "I Got You (I Feel Good)" by James Brown and "What a Wonderful World," according to the complaint.

Carbert claims Don Great, who is not a party to this lawsuit, fraudulently registered "thousands" of the Carlin Library's songs in his own name, or in the name of his companies, Don Great Music and Tinseltown Music, or in the name of defendant May-Loo Music.

May-Loo is owned by Irma Loose, the widow of composer Bill Loose, who wrote the theme songs for "Dennis the Menace" and "The Donna Reed Show." Loose died in 1991, leaving his company to his wife.

In 1997, Don Great, a "friend" of the Looses, offered to run May-Loo in exchange for half of the company's royalties, AllBusiness.com reported.

Five years later, May-Loo sued Great, claiming he had brokered secret business deals on behalf of May-Loo and had mishandled revenue. Great countersued, but a federal jury found awarded Loose and May-Loo $1.9 million in 2004, according to Carbert's complaint.

Carbert says it bought a catalogue of music called the GRH Catalogue from Harrose Music Co. in 2005. Soon afterward, Carlin says, it discovered that Great had falsely registered "many" of the GRH songs to himself, his companies or May-Loo. Great's actions "muddied the chain of title" and kept Carbert from licensing the songs, Carbert says.

Because of May-Loo's claims against Great, Carbert says, it understood that May-Loo had not participated in the fraudulent transfers.

Carbert sued Great for copyright infringement, winning default judgment after Great failed to appear, according to the recent complaint. After that judgment, Carbert says, Great disclaimed his rights to the GRH songs.

But Great allegedly refused to disclaim rights to GRH songs that he had fraudulently obtained on behalf of May-Loo. May-Loo also refused to rescind its fraudulent rights over the GRH songs, Carbert says, but claimed it had always been rightful owner of the songs.

Carbert wants an order directing May-Loo to release its fraudulent hold over the GRH songs.

Carbert and Carlin are represented by Dale Cendali and Melanie Bradley with Kirkland & Ellis.

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