Heirs of Jimi Hendrix Experience band members sue Sony Music over alleged copyright infringement

Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell's estates are seeking royalties

A lawsuit has been filed against Sony Music by the heirs of Jimi Hendrix’s former bandmates, bassist Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell, who allege copyright infringement.

As reported by Variety, the lawsuit has been filed in London’s High Court, with Redding and Mitchell’s heirs seeking royalties and claiming they own a stake in the band’s music.

This new lawsuit follows a filing made by Sony Music and the Hendrix estate in a Manhattan federal court last month, which states that the estates of Redding and Mitchell do not have the right to sue them for copyright claims.

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This came after Sony Music received a letter in December from British lawyer, Lawrence Abramson, which noted that the label owed Redding and Mitchell’s estates performance royalties for roughly 3billion streams of the Jimi Hendrix Experience’s songs.

However, a lawyer for Sony Music and Hendrix’s estate alleged that both Mitchell and Redding signed away any rights to the music in the early 1970s. Abramson argued in response that “none of the parties would have been able to foresee or contemplate” the digital media revenue at the time of signing.

The new UK-based lawsuit seeks a declaration of copyright ownership in the musical works, sound recordings and performers rights, and damages as well as an account of profits plus interest on that figure and legal costs.

Jimi Hendrix Experience
Jimi Hendrix Experience (L-R: Mitch Mitchell, Noel Redding, Jimi Hendrix). CREDIT: Ivan Keeman/Redferns

Hendrix died in September 1970. His father, James Allen “Al” Hendrix, was heir to Jimi’s estate and later formed Experience Hendrix with his daughter, Janie, who has continued to run the company following Al’s death in 2002.

The lawyer representing Redding and Mitchell’s estates has claimed the musicians “both died in relative poverty having never received their true entitlement from their works, performances, and founding membership of the Jimi Hendrix Experience.”

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In other news, Joni Mitchell announced last year that she would be releasing the recordings of two sets at a Canadian coffee shop that were recorded by Jimi Hendrix.

The singer’s performances at Ottawa’s Le Hibou Coffee House were captured by Hendrix in March 1968 during a two week residency by Mitchell ahead of the release of her debut album, ‘Song To A Seagull’.

The recording features on Mitchell’s collection ‘Joni Mitchell Archives Vol. 2: The Reprise Years (1968-1971)’, which was released late last year.

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