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Pink Floyd maintains control of digital downloads

Pink Floyd maintains control of digital downloads

Published: 23.12.10 at 09:27

Pink Floyd has maintained the right to control online distribution of its songs following the Court of Appeal's decision to uphold the judgment of the High Court against EMI.

In March this year, Pink Floyd successfully sued EMI for selling digital downloads of tracks from its conceptual albums without the permission of the band.

Pink Floyd based its arguments on a contract it signed with EMI in 1999 under which the band claimed it was agreed with EMI that its songs could not be unbundled from its albums without the band's consent.

EMI argued that the contract only referred to vinyls and CDs, and that as digital downloads were not in existence at the time they had not been contemplated by the parties and therefore did not fall within the definition of 'records' under the contract.

The judge disagreed and held that the terms of the contract relied on by Pink Floyd had been drafted to preserve the artistic integrity of the band's albums.

The Court of Appeal judgment comes as the latest blow to EMI following reports that Citigroup is set to take control of the record company from Terra Firma. 

The need for clarity
IP specialist law firm Briffa comments: 'The case highlights the possibility of disagreement arising between parties to a contract which contains ambiguous provisions. As above such disagreement can lead to legal proceedings and determination of the parties' intended agreement by the courts.

'In this case, the courts agreed with Pink Floyd's arguments that the provision in question had been included to prevent EMI from unbundling songs from their albums without their consent, irrespective of the format they were to be sold in.

'When entering into a contract you should ensure that you have a written agreement in place which does not contain any ambiguous provisions and sets out the intended commercial arrangement with the other party with as much certainty as possible.'

Story by Briffa. Photo credit: Pink Sherbet


Please note that this article discusses the legal position in the UK at the time of publication. It provides general information only but is not to be regarded as legal advice. You must take advice from a specialist lawyer in relation to your specific circumstances. Further, you should seek additional legal advice when dealing with parties based in other parts of the world or works originating from other parts of the world as the legal position may vary.


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