Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Who owns the rights to Hank Williams' performance on the Mother's Best Flour Hour

In Polygram Records, Inc. v. Legacy Entertainment Group, the Tennessee Court of Appeals resolved the competing claims of three groups to intellectual property rights in the recordings from the 1950s of Hank Williams' performances on the radio.

The opinion contains this memorable paragraph:

"The chain of title Legacy relies on comprises a long and windy road during which there was a brief stop in a trash can at a radio station. If a song were written about this matter favorable to Legacy’s claim, it might be entitled, 'I Found a Gold Mine in the Radio Station Trash.' Indeed, although Legacy may have acquired certain tangible rights to WSM’s acetate tapes, and the performances by Hank Williams from the 40s and 50s embodied therein are golden, the gold attendant to Hank Williams’ performances may not be mined by Legacy. Accordingly, an appropriate title attributable to Legacy’s claim would be, 'Your Bucket Has a Hole in It.'"

The winners of the case were not the radio station group nor the record company, but the Hank Williams heirs.

No comments: