Company Loses Cuban Music Case

A six-year legal battle over the rights to hundreds of Cuban songs came to an end yesterday (16NOV06), with neither side emerging victorious. American company Peer International Corporation signed up hundreds of Cuban musicians from the 1930s to the 1950s and sold their music in the US, before hastily withdrawing from the Caribbean island when FIDEL CASTRO took political control in 1959. Executives at Peer International wanted British judge MR JUSTICE LINDSAY to confirm their ownership of copyright of 13 songs from a catalogue of 600, which they claim was illegally taken over by the Cuban government. Meanwhile, Cuban state-owned publishing company Editora Musical de Cube insisted composers were owed royalties which they had been cheated out of. Mr Justice Lindsay, who has been presiding over the case in London and Havana since May 2005, ruled there was no proof composers had been cheated and that he could not give Peer International the wide declaration of ownership rights they requested. Mr Justice Lindsay agreed that Peer International attempted to reestablish contact with its Cuban artists in the late 1990s, but all the original composers has passes away by that time. In 1998, Peer International began to make contact with late composers' heirs and make amends over payments after "38 years of nothing".


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