You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

James Mtume Sues Sony Music to Reclaim Rights to ‘Juicy Fruit,’ Other Songs

Veteran soul musician James Mtume has sued Sony Music to reclaim the rights for sound recordings he created between 1978 and 1983, including the hits “Juicy Fruit” and “Just Funnin’.” While most of the songs in question are from Mtume’s first two albums, “Juicy Fruit” was a sizable hit, reaching No. 1 on Billboard’s R&B chart for eight weeks in 1983 and peaking at No. 45 during a 12-week run on the Hot 100.

The suit is the latest in several wherein artists are using Section 203 of the U.S. Copyright Act, which allows authors to reclaim rights to their works after 35 years, with the clock starting at Jan. 1, 1978. Members of the Village People, the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Devo and others have filed similar claims.

Contacted by Variety, a rep for Sony Music said the company had no comment.

Mtume sent a termination notice in July of 2015 that was recorded in the copyright office in November of that year, with termination dates effective in 2017 and 2018. His suit claims that Sony “waited nearly two years” before responding on July 21, 2017, more than two weeks after the first effective termination date.

Sony maintained that Mtume’s 2015 termination notice is ineffective for several reasons, including that the recordings are works made for hire; that the recordings at issue are not subject to termination pursuant to Section 203 because they were created pursuant to a grant contained in a 1977 agreement; and there may be additional potential authors other than Mtume whose grants were not noticed for termination.

Mtume disputed those assertions, which his lawsuit characterizes as frivolous, and also requests the court grant that the recordings are terminable, that the termination notice is valid, and an accounting of all post-termination income along with his attorneys’ fees and costs.

Mtume’s original contract was signed in 1977 with Zembu Productions, which two years later assigned it to CBS Records; in 1987, CBS was acquired by Sony Music Entertainment. Mtume reached a separate agreement with CBS in October of 1983.




More Music

  • The Top 10 Portrayals of Record

    The Dirt on Rock's Great Enablers: 10 Memorable Screen Portrayals of Record Execs

    In the Netflix biopic “The Dirt,” Pete Davidson of “Saturday Night Live” fame portrays A&R exec Tom Zutaut, the man who signed Motley Crue to Elektra and Guns N’ Roses to Geffen, while veteran character actor David Costabile (“The Wire,” “Billions”) is manager Doc McGhee. They follow in a long and illustrious line of label [...]

  • MTV EMAs to Be Held in

    MTV EMAs to Be Held in Seville, Spain

    The MTV EMAs are returning to Spain, heading for the city of Seville after last year’s edition in Bilbao, MTV announced Monday. The 26th annual MTV Europe Music Awards, which will feature acts and music from around the world, is to take place Nov. 3. “We are thrilled to land in Seville for the 2019 [...]

  • R. Kelly

    Dubai Government Says No R. Kelly Concerts Planned in United Arab Emirates

    The government of Dubai has denied that any R. Kelly concerts are planned in the United Arab Emirates after Kelly’s attorney asked a Chicago judge last week to delay a ruling on the R&B singer’s request to travel to Dubai to perform. Local newspaper “The National,” which has government ties, carried a story Monday quoting [...]

  • Singer Scott Walker Dead at 76

    Singer Scott Walker Dies at 76

    Scott Walker, the American singer who attained massive success as a pop star in England before veering off into avante-garde music, has died, according to his label, 4AD. He was 76; no cause or date of death was immediately announced. “It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Scott Walker,” a post [...]

  • Noah CentineoNickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards, Show,

    Kids’ Choice Awards 2019: JoJo Siwa, Noah Centineo Take on Bullying

    This year’s Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards was full of positivity and encouragement to be yourself. DJ Khaled, known for his upbeat mantras, hosted the 32nd annual awards ceremony alongside JoJo Siwa at USC’s Galen center. Siwa accepted the award for favorite social music star. Siwa said in her acceptance speech, “I get hated on every [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content