[media stories: after the ruling]

Dangerous connections

Commentary on the ruling
in the VoW vs. Motorpsycho-lawsuit
taken from the Norwegian musicians' magazine
NORSK MUSIKERBLAD #7/8, 2000 [vol.87] on 2000-08-29.
English translation done by Trond Brandal himself.

The Motorpsycho ruling in Oslo city court gives both interesting and frightening perspectives on the legal status between artists and record companies. On the one hand, the judgement ascertains that an artist who himself has paid for a recording that has been released, qualifies for membership in the producer sector of GRAMO.

On the other hand, the court points out that the rights to such recordings by tradition lie with the record company, it is so to speak usual practice that the artist transfers the rights to his performances for the period of time that the recording is protected by copyright. At this point, the ruling is jarring on the ear to both Motorpsycho and others, because the band itself owns the recordings.

In any case where a recording company hires a recording artist at the company’s own account and risk, there will be no doubt that both the recording and the right to exploit it lie with the company. But then, what is the situation when the artist has taken all the risk? May «usual practice» apply to a kind of agreement that - at least in 1991 - wasn’t usual at all?

The conclusion of the court has a likeness to summing up apples and pears, because one has tried to find the least common multiple of two totally different models of collaboration between artist and record company. The fact that the court interpretes some parts of the contracts litterally, and other parts not, doesn’t lessen the confusion.

We have been framed, the members of Motorpsycho said when the press asked for their comments back in June. Nobody, not even the court, can take this conception away from them.

Even the Norwegian Musicians’ Magazine has been hoodwinked by Ketil Sveen, the manager of Voices of Wonder. The year was 1994, the month was april, and the occasion was an article titled «Kings and slaves in the record industry» by our journalist Bård Skar. Sveen spoke that Voices of Wonder had never received a mastertape, neither would they do so in the future.

At that point there were seven Motorpsycho releases available. Each and every one of them was based on mastertapes which the band had handed over to Voices of Wonder.

Trond Brandal