Allman Brothers' tapes suit ramblin' through courts

By | January 29, 2002 at 12:00 AM

A legal battle over 30-year-old Allman Brothers recordings is rambling through the courts due to “procedural stalling” by Universal Music Group, the band’s lawyer said Monday, pledging to appeal a bid to shift the case to federal court.

The popular 1970s rock band, known for such hits as “Ramblin’ Man” and “Midnight Rider”, first filed suit against recording giant Universal, a unit of Vivendi Universal, in May claiming the label wrongly took possession of several live tracks and other recordings made between 1969 and 1980.

The band asked the Los Angeles Superior Court to determine if the recordings were transferred in error to PolyGram when the band’s former label Capricorn Records declared bankruptcy in 1980. Universal acquired the tapes when it bought PolyGram.

Universal declined comment, but according to court documents, the music giant filed a motion to move the case to a federal court from a state court earlier this month.

“All they are doing at this point is is procedural stalling,” said Gerald Weiner, the band’s attorney, who plans to file a motion in the next few weeks to oppose Universal’s motion to move the case.

“I don’t think the federal court has jurisdiction over this and I think it would throw out the case,” he said, referring to the fact that many of the masters were recorded prior to 1972, when the federal copyright laws first took effect.

“We’re talking about master sound recordings, live performances, out takes, rehearsals, demos, which we believe should never have been in the PolyGram or Universal’s possession in the first place,” Weiner said.

“It’s not that complicated. They’ve got our tapes and we want them back,” he said.

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