Monday, November 21, 2005

MC5 Legal Battle: Kick Out the Copyright Infringements

From the Velvet Rope:

...Some of you have inquired about the status of the MC5 legal fracas, which is slowly but steadily evolving in Detroit. Believe the court is pondering jurisdictional issues, whether the case should be heard in Federal or State court; a decision is expected within the next several weeks. Once that's settled, the outcome seems destined to turn on several major issues: trademark, dilution of trademark and copyright infringement.

The Derminer plaintiffs (singer and songwriter Rob Tyner's family) claim there has been, at best, sub-minimal accounting for some five dozen 'bootleg' MC5 recordings issued by a dizzying number of labels, a mountain of MC5 merchandise, and an MC5 "tribute" DVD financed by Levis and issued on Muscletone Records.

Defendants include Wayne and Margaret Saadi Kramer, Muscletone, Michael and Angela Davis, Svengirly Music and Dennis Thompson. Kramer, Thompson and M Davis are former members of the MC5. A Davis is the wife of M Davis, who together own Svengirly Music.

...The spark that seemed to ignite this firestorm was a so-called tribute concert in London; those of you who've been around the Velvet Rope for awhile should recall some heated exchanges which took place here.

The resultant DVD was titled 'Sonic Revolution ' but frequently tagged by detractors as "Saadi Revolution", largely due to a statement by Wayne Kramer in the Cleveland Free Times: "To be honest, Margaret came up with all this," [Kramer] says. "She's just a genius. Had it been up to me, I probably would have said, `It's a big mess, I don't want to bother with it.'"
And, of course, it was Margaret's idea to have the band wear costumes based on their signs of the zodiac.


Anonymous said...

Monday, November 28, 2005



United States District Court Judge John J. Feikens of the Eastern District of Michigan dismissed a federal lawsuit filed by the widow and children of the late Rob Tyner (aka Robert Derminer), former lead singer of the MC5, against the band's surviving members and managers. Mr. Tyner died in 1991.

The judge's ruling is a victory for the group's surviving members Michael Davis, Wayne Kramer and Dennis Thompson as well as their managers and respective companies.

Ms. Derminer claimed the MC5's surviving members had infringed copyrights, and the MC5 trademark, which is jointly owned by Ms. Derminer and the surviving members. He ruled that Ms. Derminer failed to prove her ownership interest in the alleged copyrighted works. He also determined that Ms. Derminer could not bring trademark infringement claims against the co-owners Davis, Kramer and Thompson.

Judge Feikens' ruling follows the July 2005 denial by Magistrate Judge Mona Majzoub of Ms. Derminer's request for a preliminary injunction against the group. Magistrate Judge Majzoub issued a 24-page opinion stating, among other things, that Ms. Derminer possessed "unclean hands" with respect to her claims of exploitation of the group's copyrights, trademark and accounting revenues, and that, as a result, Ms. Derminer and her family were unlikely to succeed on the merits of their case.

"We are pleased with the judge's decision. Becky Derminer's repeated harassment of our clients is tiresome and disingenuous," said Margaret Saadi Kramer, Wayne Kramer's long-time manager. "Angela Davis and I will continue to defend our clients' right to work."

During the late 1960s and early 1970s, the MC5 composed and recorded three full-length albums, but are best known for their controversial hit "Kick Out The Jams." The last performance of the original lineup was in December 1972.

In recent years, the surviving members of this influential band have reunited to perform concerts throughout the world. They also periodically release recordings of their work, most recently last year's successful DVD "Sonic Revolution: A Celebration of the MC5."

"This is a vindication of our clients' position. Their intellectual property rights have been upheld," said J. Michael Huget of Butzel Long, the Detroit-based firm which represents the surviving members.

Anonymous said...

Right on Bruther Wayne. Kick some serious ass.

Anonymous said...

I guess the Saadi Kramer is a great manager. She just keeps on winning. Can that be a bad thing? Yeah, if you're on the losing team.

Wayne was the leader of the band and the best and most prolific writer in the group. The singer didn't even play an instrument and Wayne showed Fred Smith how to play the guitar.

Kramer's post-MC5 work is nothing short of phenomenal.

Anonymous said...

Wayne is a dolt