Dwight Yoakam Sues Record Label in Attempt to Win Back Rights to Early Songs

In the papers he filed in California federal court, the country music veteran alleges Warner Music Group chiefs have blocked his efforts to reclaim the masters to old hits from his 1984 debut album.

AceShowbiz -Country music veteran Dwight Yoakam has filed suit against his record label bosses to reclaim the ownership rights to his early songs.

The singer alleges Warner Music Group chiefs have blocked his efforts to win back the masters to old hits from his 1984 debut album, “Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc.”, which featured the tunes “Honky Tonk Man”, “Miner’s Prayer”, “Guitars, Cadillacs” and “It Won’t Hurt”.

Citing the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, Yoakam argues the rights to the songs and their respective music videos should be returned to him 35 years after their release, with the “effective termination date” falling on 3 March.

However, according to papers filed in California federal court on Tuesday, February 09, WMG bosses have either denied or ignored his demands, forcing Yoakam to take legal action.

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The lawsuit reads, “Having profited and benefited off of Mr. Yoakam for 35 years, (WMG) do not want their gravy train to end, and have therefore refused to acknowledge and accept Mr. Yoakam’s valid Notices of Termination served properly under Section 203 of the United States Copyright of 1976 in blatant disregard of Mr. Yoakam’s rights.”

The star’s attorney, Richard Busch, goes on to insist WMG executives’ actions are effectively “paralyzing Mr. Yoakam from financially benefiting from his statutory right to terminate the transfer of his copyrights to WMG.”

Yoakam is demanding the automatic return of the song rights, as well as in excess of $1 million (£723,000) in damages.

WMG representatives have yet to respond to the allegations.

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