Jimi Hendrix Bandmates’ Heirs Sue Over Streaming Royalties
The heirs of Jimi Hendrix’s former Experience bandmates, bassist Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell, are suing Sony Music over copyright infringement and royalties that they claim to be owed.
The suit, filed in London’s High Court, alleges in part that Sony must compensate both rockers' heirs for streaming rights and digital media revenue. It is estimated that music by the Jimi Hendrix Experience has been streamed more than 3 billion times, a number which, lawyers declare, earns “millions of pounds” per year.
The new lawsuit comes on the heels of a separate legal battle which began weeks ago in a New York court. At that time, the Hendrix estate sought a “declaratory judgment of ownership and noninfringement” against Redding and Mitchell’s families, a pre-emptive move designed to combat their demand for unpaid royalties before it had begun.
The Jimi Hendrix Experience released three albums between 1967 and 1968 before breaking up the following year. All three LPs were successful, featuring such classic hits as “Purple Haze,” “The Wind Cries Mary,” “Foxy Lady” and “All Along the Watchtower.”
Hendrix’s representatives argue that Redding and Mitchell -- who passed away in 2003 and 2008, respectively -- signed away their rights to the music in the mid-’70s, following the guitar great’s death.
According to Variety, the musicians’ heirs disagree for numerous reasons. Among them, that anything Redding and Mitchell signed would have only pertained to the music formats of the time and would not apply to streaming as “none of the parties would have been able to foresee or contemplate” that source of revenue.