Hendrix Beats London Times

(PR) Experience Hendrix LLC, the Seattle-based family company which owns and administers the Jimi Hendrix legacy of recordings and songs has, together with The Last Experience Inc., obtained summary judgment against the London Times. On September 10, 2006 that newspaper released a CD recording of the Jimi Hendrix Experience performing at the Albert Hall in London on February 24, 1969 as a “covermount” with its Sunday edition. That performance was the last time the band ever played performed in London, the city where an unknown Jimi Hendrix burst into prominence in late 1966. Despite warnings from Experience Hendrix prior to the CD’s release, the London Times proceeded, citing a purported license of the material from an affiliate of Charly Records whose claims to this material have long been disputed by Experience Hendrix.

The Albert Hall concert was actually filmed and recorded on behalf of a joint venture between Jimi Hendrix, his manager Michael Jeffery, and filmmakers Steve Gold and Jerry Goldstein. Experience Hendrix is the successor to the Hendrix and Jeffery interests and The Last Experience Inc. is the successor to the Gold and Goldstein interests. A copy of the Albert Hall audio material was obtained in the 1970’s by Bernard Solomon, who served as the accountant for Gold & Goldstein and their companies. Mr. Solomon then began to license the audio material through various companies he owned or controlled, all without license or approval from Hendrix, Gold or Goldstein. These unauthorized Albert Hall concert releases have continued over the past decades, most recently through Charly Records and its licensees. The most prominent of these bootlegs during the past few years have been the “His Greatest Hits” (Volumes 1 and 2) CDs released on the Legacy International label. Experience Hendrix has caused many major record distributors to remove these recordings from their bins and websites, but these releases continue to reappear at various retail venues.

When The Last Experience brought to the attention of Warner Bros. Records in the early 1970's and CBS Records in the early 1980's that they had released recordings that contained tracks from the Royal Albert Hall performance, both of those companies ceased and desisted, unlike the London Times.

As a consequence of its covermount release and the resulting lawsuit by Experience Hendrix, the London Times attempted to validate the Charly Records claim, but the UK court rejected it. The attorneys for the London Times requested a series of extensions to obtain a statement from Mr. Solomon explaining his claim, and eventually proposed to take Mr. Solomon’s deposition to prove their case, seeking further extensions into January 2008 for this purpose. It was ultimately revealed that in October of 2007 a statement had been obtained from Mr. Solomon and that Mr. Solomon died later that year. Apparently, the October statement had initially been withheld from the court because it was insufficient, on its face, to establish a valid claim.

In its judgment dated February 19, released in final written form this week, the London court granted summary judgment in favor of Experience Hendrix and The Last Experience Inc., and awarded Experience Hendrix recoupment of its legal costs while rejecting the legal arguments and related factual contentions advanced by the London Times. The court will consider the amount of a damage award in a further proceeding.

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