Wednesday 30 April 2014

Sorrow will come: a new book

Here's a new book by Jeremy Grice: it's intriguingly entitled "Sorrow will come in the end", it bears the tagline "Legal case studies in the music, theatre and entertainment industries".  This is what the author -- who is Head of Music, Theatre and Entertainment at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts -- has to say about its title and its content:

"Sorrow will come in the end" is the title of a song written in 1997 by Steven Morrissey, following his defeat in the UK Court in Joyce v Morrissey. Its angry lyrics offer a message to his victorious opponent:
You pleaded and squealed and you think you’ve won
But sorrow will come to you in the end.
It finishes somewhat chillingly:
A man who slits throats has time on his hands and I’m gonna get you So don’t close your eyes, don’t ever close your eyes.
Unsurprisingly, Morrissey’s record label, Island Records, withdrew the track from the album before distribution.

Not every court case in the music, theatre and entertainment industry ends in such vitriol. Indeed the combatants even get back together some times. But there are always lessons to be learned. This website examines high profile disputes such as Joyce v Morrissey. Such disputes are often settled before the case reaches court; often the settlements will reflect the legal merits of the different sides, but at times it may be a reflection of financial muscle and/or bravado. This site focuses on UK cases which actually reached court before being resolved. It examines the primary source of court transcripts which explain the decisions, explains the background to the case and analyses the judgment. It highlights the legal principles which were under examination, evaluates the impact of the cases for the music, theatre and entertainment industries, and discusses what can be learned. The key legal principles illustrated in each case are highlighted in the titles.
The book itself, being effectively the book of the website, is in the sort of format that this blogger is increasingly growing to appreciate. It's small, light, with large print and no footnotes.  There's enough law to justify the decision of any lawyer to read it, but enough factual narrative to let you read it without letting the law get in the way.  The time-chart of the key elements of the Beatles/Apple trade mark dispute, spanning 45 years, make you feel pretty old if you can remember when it all started.  Not all the cases that feature here are copyright cases, but copyright lies at the heart of most of them, and is rarely very far from where all the action is.

You can purchase this book via Amazon here.

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