Ennio Morricone Sues to Regain Copyright Control of Film Scores

Ennio Morricone Sues to Regain Copyright Control of Film Scores
Recent years have been more than a little kind to Ennio Morricone fanatics, as almost every month sees decades-old works from the maestro repackaged and reissued. However, Morricone is now taking legal action to reclaim ownership of some of his past works.

On Monday (October 31), Morricone filed a lawsuit against Bixio Music Group in New York Federal Court, with his company aiming to regain the copyrights to three of his film scores, The Hollywood Reporter reports. These include 1978's Cosi Come Sei (Stay As You Are), 1979's Il Giocattolo (A Dangerous Toy) and 1980's Un Sacco Bello (Fun Is Beautiful).

The case is very much like that recently filed by Harry Shearer, with the case concerning the 1976 Copyright Act. The act allows authors or their heirs to cancel a grant 35 years after initial publication, meaning that works created in the late 1970s and early 1980s can now be reclaimed by their creators.

According to Morricone's lawsuit, he made written agreements from 1978 to 1980 with Edizioni Musicali to compose the scores to the three films mentioned in the suit. Edizioni Musicali then signed over the U.S. copyrights to Bixio Music Group.

The lawsuit explains: "Morricone Music upon receipt of the assignments from the Composer attempted to register its claims to all royalties collected from the public performance of the film scores Cosi Come Se, Il Giocattolo and Un Sacco Bello in the United States with ASCAP but Bixio refused to relinquish the Bixio Claim based upon its allegation that the film scores were created as works made for hire and not subject to the termination under 17 U.S.C. 2013."

It then goes on to add: "Morricone Music disputes the Bixio Claim, denies that the film scores were created as works made for hire because the Composer during his creation of the film scores was at all times acting as an independent contractor who was not in the employ of Edizioni Musicali, and the Composer did not agree in writing that any of the film scores would constitute a work made for hire."

You can read the complaint in full here.

As of yet, Bixio has yet to comment on the lawsuit.