Rocker Hallyday wins back song masters

2nd August 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Aug 2 (AFP) - Veteran French rocker Johnny Hallyday on Monday won possession of some 1,000 master-copies of his songs held by the recording company Universal, but a decision on a EUR 50 million (USD 60 million) damages claim against his longtime employer was deferred until next year.

PARIS, Aug 2 (AFP) - Veteran French rocker Johnny Hallyday on Monday won possession of some 1,000 master-copies of his songs held by the recording company Universal, but a decision on a EUR 50 million (USD 60 million) damages claim against his longtime employer was deferred until next year.

An industrial arbitration board in Paris ordered an experts' report into the contracts signed by the two parties, after the 61-year-old star complained of exploitation by Universal and announced that he was leaving the company for the first time in his career.

The board told Universal to hand over the originals of recordings going back to 1961 - a major loss for the company as Hallyday's back catalogue continues to sell strongly in France.

At a hearing last month, Hallyday's lawyer said Universal had illegally bound the singer to the company by offering millions of euros in financial loans, including a sum of EUR 5.3 million to buy a yacht.

Hallyday's lawyer Jacques Verrecchia said the singer was delighted with the ruling.

"We have pulled off a great victory today because my principal demand has been met. I have just spoken to Mr Hallyday on the telephone and he is jubilant.

He has got what he wanted - for the moment - even if it's too early to proclaim victory," Verrecchia said.

Universal has agreed that Hallyday can terminate his contract at the end of 2005, meaning he will produce only one more album there as opposed to the six that were planned.

© AFP

Subject: French news

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