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Music

Eversheds Sutherland has one of the most established and highly regarded music practices in the world. We act for some of the most successful popular musicians in the world and their companies as well as industry bodies and investors in music rights. You will often see the cases we work on in the news: Apple Corps suing Apple Computer, disputes over the Jimi Hendrix Estate or Elton John's Las Vegas show.

The music industry is facing many new challenges as consumers' expectations about access to music evolve, particularly since the advent of peer-to-peer file sharing. Effective prevention of rights infringement coupled with finding new ways of exploiting content are key to businesses maximising income streams as traditional sources of income, such as CD sales, dry up. Our team has vast experience in advising clients on income streams beyond the sale of physical recordings, including digital exploitation of content, merchandising, synchronisation of content in films, television and advertising, product endorsement and live events. Many of these deals transcend national boundaries, and our global expertise enables us to provide advice across jurisdictions.

We regularly provide advice in relation to large live events, including The Beatles' joint venture with Cirque du Soleil on the hugely successful 'LOVE' show in Las Vegas and Elton John's critically acclaimed Las Vegas shows, "The Red Piano" and "One Million Dollar Piano".

The team can also help to protect and enforce rights once deals are done, ensuring that revenue ends up where the parties intended. We have decades of experience of royalty audit claims and can provide an end-to-end service to clients.

If your rights are infringed or you are on the receiving end of a claim, we are experts in devising effective strategies to resolve disputes. We have one of the pre-eminent dispute resolution teams and are the firm of choice for some of the largest names in the entertainment business, including Elton John, U2 and The Beatles. Our global experience enables us to provide an integrated service across jurisdictions to assist our clients in respect of rights infringement.

We are proud that our experience and invaluable knowledge of the music industry, together with our specialist team's dedication to understanding its clients' businesses and developing long-term relationships, has won us the long-standing confidence of some of the most high-profile operators in the field.

Music law experience

  • Successfully defending the Bob Marley Estate and Universal-Island Records against a £60m contractual, copyright and performers' rights claim by former Wailer Aston "Family Man" Barrett.
  • Acting for The Beatles' company Apple Corps in its high profile dispute with Apple Computer over the use of the name 'Apple' and Apple marks on the iTunes Music Store website.
  • Acting for Experience Hendrix in successful Court of Appeal litigation against Purple Haze Records and John Hillman, the leading case on performers' rights.
  • Advising Apple Corps on their joint venture with Cirque du Soleil for the "LOVE" show in Las Vegas and merchandising and internet agreements, including advising on a production agreement for a BBC programme about the Beatles Cirque du Soleil show entitled "Imagine... The Beatles in Love" and the subsequent worldwide television distribution of the programme.
  • Advising Spirit Music Group, a US music publishing company, on its acquisition of Pete Townshend's (The Who) music publishing catalogue.