Rolan Feld has filed papers in Los Angeles against Westminster Music Limited, alleging the firm has been selling rights to Bolan’s back catalogue without a contract since 1969.
Glam icon Bolan – real name Marc Feld – signed a limited-term deal with Westminster in 1968. His son says the contract was never renewed, but the company has operated as if it had been. As a result, he says, he’s the sole owner of the songs in question, and he’s owed compensation.
His argument is based on US law for songs written before 1978, which allows for copyright to be held for 28 years, followed by a renewal period lasting a further 67 years. If the songwriter dies during the first time period, rights for the second period automatically belong to his heir.
Feld says in his court papers: “In an attempt to ever up their conduct and mislead the public as to the true owner and administrator of the US copyright, Defendants falsely registered with the Copyright Office a claim to the renewed and extended term for each of the Compositions.”
He believes he’s been “damaged in an amount that is as not yet fully ascertained, but which Plaintiff believes exceeds $2,000,000.”
The BBC reports that Westminster, known in the UK as Essex Music International, has made no comment.