Grammy-winning bluegrass star Del McCoury has filed suit against Copper Creek Records. The civil suit accuses Roanoke, Va.-based Copper Creek of copyright infringement, unfair trade practices and unfa

Grammy-winning bluegrass star Del McCoury has filed suit against Copper Creek Records. The civil suit accuses Roanoke, Va.-based Copper Creek of copyright infringement, unfair trade practices and unfair competition. It was filed Friday (April 30) in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee.

The suit centers around two recordings McCoury made in the early 1970s. One, which has never been released, was recorded at Leesburg State Prison (now Bayside State Prison) in Leesburg, N.J. The other was made with McCoury's then-band the Dixie Pals, at a studio in Ferndale, N.Y., belonging to Paul Gerry. It was released on Gerry's Revonah Records as "Del McCoury & the Dixie Pals" in 1975 and has been out of print for 25 years.

Copper Creek purchased the masters to both recordings and all assets of Revonah Records from Gerry's widow. In February, Copper Creek executives informed McCoury that the label planned to re-release the "Dixie Pals" album supplemented with a few tracks from the unreleased prison recording.

Believing that Copper Creek has no legal right to the recordings, and citing their poor quality and potential for interfering with other planned McCoury album releases and sales of albums already on the market, McCoury's attorneys asked Copper Creek to cease all plans for the re-release.

However, according to the suit, the label continued forward with its plans. It also informed McCoury that he would not be paid for the exploitation of these recordings, the suit says.

David Crow, a Nashville attorney representing Copper Creek, characterized the recordings as "works made for hire" in a February letter sent to McCoury's attorney. Crow notes that "Revonah's standard artist agreement was that Revonah paid for all production costs, artwork costs and manufacturing costs and gave the artist 500 free copies of each album ... in exchange for all rights in the album."

McCoury's suit asks that Copper Creek be enjoined from releasing any materials from the two recordings. It also asks that the master tapes be impounded or destroyed.

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