The Verve's Richard Ashcroft finally receives royalties to Bitter Sweet Symphony after copyright battle with The Rolling Stones

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Commercial Article

31 May, 2019

'Bitter Sweet Symphony' was released in 1997 by The Verve, an English alternative rock band. The song was the first single released from their third album 'Urban Hymns', reaching number two in the UK Singles Charts and remained in the chart for three months.

The song contained a four-second segment from the Andrew Loog Oldham orchestral cover of The Rolling Stones song, 'The Last Time'. The Verve had obtained permission for the use of recording however, permission for the use of the song was overlooked.

Allen Klein, the manager of The Rolling Stones, sued The Verve for copyright infringement, accusing them of using more than the agreed segment. This resulted in Mick Jagger and Keith Richards being added to the songwriting credits and receiving full royalties. The Verve had to agree to this in order to retain the song on the Urban Hymns album, which was due to be released. This decision vastly amended the previously agreed deal of the royalties being split 50:50 between Jagger and Richards and The Verve.

It has recently been announced that Jagger and Richards have "unhesitatingly and unconditionally" relinquished their rights to the song, including removing their writing credits, and signed all rights and royalties over to The Verve. This comes after The Verve's Richard Ashcroft appealed to them directly, in the hope to reclaim royalties and rights in the song since 1997.

On 23rd May 2019 Ashcroft tweeted "It gives me great pleasure to announce as of last month Mick Jagger and Keith Richards agreed to give me their share of the song Bitter Sweet Symphony. This remarkable and life affirming turn of events was made possible by a kind and magnanimous gesture from Mick and Keith, who have also agreed that they are happy for the writing credit to exclude their names and all their royalties derived from the song they will now pass to me."

Forbes Solicitors regularly advises a range of businesses on Intellectual Property Right matters, including copyright. If you have any questions, please contact John Pickervance in our Commercial department via email or phone 0333 207 1130.

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