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Richard Finch recently sued Sony Music owned by EMI Longitude Music in a Federal Court in Los Angeles. He is seeking from the court a declaration that he can recover his part of the copyright in the band’s music. Richard Finch is the co-founder and bassist of the famous classic disco-funk group named KC & the Sunshine Band.
Finch sued the songwriting rights to approximately 100 songs that he co-wrote for the band. These songs also include hits like “That’s The Way (I like It)”, “(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty” and “Get down Tonight.” He files this lawsuit under part of that copyright law which allows authors to terminate their copyrights after the period of 35 years.
The main objective behind this law is to remedy the unequal bargaining power of all authors with the largest group of copyright owners. “This situation is exactly the situation envisioned by the termination clause”, said Finch’s attorney, Evan Cohen of Cohen Music Law, in an interview. Bridget Hirsch of Byrnes Hirsch also represents Finch. Cohen and Hirsch represent Scottish rock band The Jesus & Mary Chain in a similar dispute with Warner Music. Sony Music did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Finch’s lawsuit. The complaint states, “Finch and Casey co-founded KC & the Sunshine Band in 1973, co-writing their songs until 1979. Finch then left the group and assigned their copyrights and rights.”
Finch said, “The copyright ended up with Sony Music’s EMI and I served the company with a termination notice in 2019. The termination took effect on October 1 and that ‘EMI has been exploiting the songs without our permission ever since.” Finch further asked the court to declare the termination as valid and effective and also that he owns 50% of the rosters. He also requested the court for an account of the money that EMI owes him.
The case can be reached with the name Finch v. EMI Consortium Songs Inc d / b / a EMI Longitude Music, US District Court for the Central District of California, bearing case no.2: 21-cv-08032.