A New York judge has blocked an attempt by Bob Marley’s family to obtain the copyrights to some of his most famous recordings from Universal Music Group.
Judge Denise Cote ruled the major owned the copyrights to five albums recorded by the late reggae singer and his band, The Wailers, between 1973 and 1977 for Island Records.
Marley's widow and children had sought millions in damages for UMG's alleged attempts to "exploit" his recordings from Catch a Fire, Burnin', Natty Dread, Rastaman Vibrations and Exodus, which contain some of his best-known songs, including I Shot the Sheriff, One Love and No Woman, No Cry.
Marley's family had accused UMG of intentionally withholding royalties from their Fifty-Six Hope Road Music company and claimed Universal had failed to consult with them on key licensing decisions, among them the use of Marley's music on ringtones.
Judge Cote ruled that Marley's recordings were "works made for hire" as defined under US copyright law which entitled UMG to be designated the owner of those recordings as the parent company of Island Records.
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