Former Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham issued proceedings claiming that the Verve’s Bittersweet Symphony megahit infringed his copyright in a 1963 recording of The Last Time by the Andrew Loog Oldham Orchestra.
Who: Andrew Loog Oldham and The Verve
When: Late 1999
Where: London, Chancery Division of the High Court
Former Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham issued a Claim proceedings claiming that the Verve’s Bittersweet Symphony megahit infringed his copyright in a 1963 recording of The Last Time by the Andrew Loog Oldham Orchestra. The Verve had already been constrained to give all publishing royalties from the hit to Allan Klein. Royalties of up to £1m are claimed by Oldham from sales of the Verve single and the Urban Hymns CD incorporating it, as well as proceeds from the synchronisation rights granted to the makers of the recent Vauxhall TV campaign.
Why this matters:
Maybe the Verve’s licence from Mr Klein included a warranty by him that he commanded all necessary rights, giving the group recourse against Klein for the Oldham claim. Whatever the licences said, however, it is clearly advisable to clear off all relevant rights before production starts, and the case underlines the need to consider all of the onion-like layers of rights in music recordings when taking licences. Be sure also to pin down the specific recording or arrangement being licensed, particularly if the wrong recording contains samples needing separate clearance!