Rio de Janeiro State Court decides that a full rights buyout can only occur when the authors of a particular work receive compensation for the copyright transfer.
According to a recent decision rendered by the 2nd Business Court of the State Court of Rio de Janeiro, a full rights buyout can only occur if the authors of a particular work receive remuneration for the transfer of copyright. Otherwise, the contract will be temporary.
In the case at hand, the musicians Roberto Carlos and Erasmo Carlos filed a lawsuit against the record label Universal Music claiming that the copyright assignment agreement must be converted into an editing agreement, since it is their understand that the record label would have abandoned the agreement management and would be paying a very low remuneration for the execution of songs produced between the 1960s and 1990s on streaming services.
In the decision, Judge Maria Cristina de Brito Lima understood that Universal could not even use this technology to distribute the work, considering that “the agreements were signed between the parties when these new modalities of exploitation of the work did not exist” and that although the agreements are entitled “Copyright Assignment”, there was no stipulation of compensation for the definitive transfer of the work. Therefore, she concluded that the agreement would be of editing, where there was an obligation of the publisher to disseminate and explore the work and to pay the composer periodic consideration relating to the editing work.
Base on that, Judge granted the plaintiffs’ requests and determined the termination of the assignment agreement, as well as recognized the agreement signed between the musicians and Universal as being of editing. The decision is not final.
Lawsuit no. 0321281-04.2018.8.19.0001
More information is available, in Portuguese, in: https://www.conjur.com.br/2020-jul-13/juiza-rio-devolve-direitos-obras-roberto-erasmo-carlos