Judge gives Hendrix family injunction over early songs

By Jan Colley
Monday 20 January 2014 02:55

The family of Jimi Hendrix won a limited victory yesterday in its High Court action over some of the late rock star's early recordings.

Experience Hendrix LLC, a company controlled by relatives of the guitarist, won an injunction restraining release of some of the material. But it was disappointed in its claim for royalties for Hendrix, who died in London in 1970 aged 27, having made his name with songs such as "Purple Haze" and "Hey Joe".

Experience, which is based in Washington, owns all the rights relating to Hendrix's music except for some recordings he made with other groups before he found fame.

It claimed PPX Enterprises and its president, Edward Chalpin, had breached an agreement in March 1973 between PPX and the English administrator of Hendrix's estate. The hearing, before Mr Justice Buckley in London, centred on 71 disputed tracks and a period when Hendrix played with a group called Curtis Knight and the Squires in PPX's New York studio. Experience argued that royalties had not been paid and that records were released for which no licence had been granted under the agreement.

Experience was granted an injunction restraining future releases or licences of recordings on which Hendrix performed in any capacity, other than 33 master tapes to which it agreed PPX was entitled.

The claim for royalties succeeded only to the extent that PPX must account for royalties due on those 33 tracks in the future, not in the past.

PPX had argued that there had been an oral agreement under which it was entitled to every master released or licensed by it.

The judge, who described the case as "extraordinary", ruled that PPX must pay 70 per cent of Experience's estimated £300,000 costs bill, with an interim payment of £75,000.

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