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Ennio Morricone May Reclaim Copyright to Film Scores, Judge Rules

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An appellate court has ruled on Wednesday that iconic film composer Ennio Morricone may reclaim the rights to his film scores, THR reports. Morricone sued Bixio Music Group in 2016 in an attempt to regain the copyrights to six of his film scores from the late ’70s and early ’80s.

Morricone argued that his contract with Bixio expired in 2012 under the Copyright Act of 1976, which lets authors cancel a copyright agreement 35 years after a work’s initial publication. The composer reportedly served Bixio a termination notice in 2012, but the company didn’t give up their claim to the copyright.

The composer lost his lawsuit in October 2017 when a New York federal judge determined that Morricone’s works should be considered “works for hire”—a designation that would block the composer’s termination rights. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit reversed that decision, saying the scores shouldn’t be considered “works for hire” in either U.S. or Italian law.

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