Jerry Jeff Walker sues Palo Duro Records
Monday, November 13, 2006
– Jerry Jeff Walker sued Palo Duro Records earlier this month for including five songs he penned in a live album.
The label has defended its actions in releasing "Viva! Terlingua! Nuevo! (Songs of Luckenbach Texas)" Oct. 24.
Over two nights in January, Palo Duro Records, in collaboration with Luckenbach Texas, staged a celebration of the musical history of Luckenbach and recorded live performances by 36 well-known Texas musicians of 14 songs from various songwriters from the 1970s.
They included Gary P. Nunn, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Guy Clark, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Walker.
On Nov. 1, Walker individually and doing business as Groper Music, filed suit in Austin against Palo Duro. He sought to stop release of cover versions written by him that are on the CD.
According to Palo Duro, the complaint alleges copyright infringement and requests that all copies of the album be gathered and impounded. He also claims misappropriation of his identity and false advertising.
"Palo Duro Records takes the allegations very seriously and plans to aggressively defend itself," said label head Chris Thomas.
Section 115 of the Federal copyright law allows for anyone giving proper notice to record, manufacture and distribute a musical composition without consent from the owner after it has been previously released to the public, according to Thomas.
"Palo Duro believes it provided proper and timely notification of its intent to include the five songs owned by Mr. Walker on "Viva! Terlingua! Nuevo! (Songs of Luckenbach Texas)," and further believes it met the criteria necessary to legally obtain the compulsory licenses as prescribed by federal law. Owners of all other songs on the album willingly granted licenses for their use," Thomas said.
He said the claims of false advertising and misappropriation of Walker's identity were "without merit. His likeness is used nowhere on or in the packaging, advertising or promotion of the record. The only reference to him is as a writer of the songs he composed; for this purpose his name is printed inside the album packaging in the same size type and manner as all other songwriters who are credited on the album. The photographs, artwork, names and logos contained on the packaging are different from his previous two albums, and the rights to use them were acquired from the appropriate copyright and trademark owners."
Due to the suit, all commercial distribution of the disc were suspended until further notice.
Thomas said, "As with all lawsuits, the issues being raised may take some time to resolve. Palo Duro Records is firmly committed to this project, to the Luckenbach Texas Music Series, and to the rights of all artists to lawfully record, distribute and promote the songs of other songwriters as specifically provided for under federal copyright law. We are confident of our actions, and intend to vigorously defend our position in court on the fastest possible time line allowed by law."
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