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Court Grants 'The Boss' Rights To Early Work

Bruce Springsteen has proved he’s still “The Boss”

A federal judge has awarded the rock superstar copyright control of an album of Springsteen’s early songs, dismissing a claim to them by a small music company, Pony Express Records, Springsteen’s attorney said on Tuesday.

In the June 22 decision, U.S. District Court Judge Harold Ackerman also forbade Pony Express from selling more copies of the album and ordered the company to destroy existing copies.

“We’re thrilled, and I think it’s important and significant that Bruce now owns all of his own music,” Springsteen attorney Steven Hayes said.

New Jersey-born Springsteen, known as “The Boss,” and Pony Express filed competing lawsuits for rights to the album “Before The Fame,” which contains more than two dozen songs composed by Springsteen between 1970-72.

James Cretecos, Springsteen’s then-manager, kept tapes for 20 years and in the 1990s sold the rights – without Springsteen’s permission – to Pony Express and JEC Music USA, according to court papers. The companies in turn granted licensing to Masquerade, a British recording company.

In 1998 a British court awarded Springsteen copyright control of the album in England. Ackerman, finding copyright infringement, based his ruling partly on that judgement.

Springsteen will seek as-yet undetermined damages based on Pony Express’ profits from the album and court costs.

Company officials at Pony Express could not be reached and Cretecos’ attorney Frank Cozarelli was not available.

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