French rocker's plea for songs falls on deaf ears

12th April 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, April 12 (AFP) - The Paris appeals court on Tuesday threw out a bid by veteran French rocker Johnny Hallyday to gain possession of some 1,000 master copies of his songs from recording company Universal.

PARIS, April 12 (AFP) - The Paris appeals court on Tuesday threw out a bid by veteran French rocker Johnny Hallyday to gain possession of some 1,000 master copies of his songs from recording company Universal.

Overturning an August 2004 decision by an industrial arbitration board, the court ruled that Universal did not have to hand over the valuable originals of Hallyday's recordings dating back to 1961, which still sell well in France.

The court also said the contract signed by the two parties in December 2002 would end on December 31, 2005 at the latest, by which time Hallyday's last album for the record label must be on sale. Six had originally been planned.

But Hallyday will be bound to Universal by an exclusivity clause through2006 in order to ensure the promotion of the album, meaning that he cannot produce a studio recording for another label in 2006.

Hallyday, France's most enduring rock icon best described as a French Elvis Presley in leather, is planning a concert tour for mid-2006 to celebrate his 63rd birthday, after a three-year break from live gigs.

The court said those shows could be recorded and marketed by another label from 2007, but that company would have to pay a fee to Universal, to be decided at a later date.

Belgian-born Hallyday, who complained that he had been exploited by Universal, left the label in early 2004 and demanded that his master recordings be returned. Universal has maintained that it owns the masters.

His attorney, Jacques Verrecchia, said Tuesday's ruling was "not a defeat, but just another step" in the legal process, adding that his client might appeal to France's highest appellate court, the Cour de Cassation.

Verrecchia also said Tuesday's decision would allow experts to begin assessing Hallyday's EUR 50 million (USD 64 million) damages claim, as ordered by the industrial arbitration board.

The board has not yet ruled on the rock star's damages claim against his longtime employer.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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