Lawyers representing the Jimi Hendrix estate — Experience Hendrix, LLC — and Sony Music Entertainment preemptively filed suit on January 18th against the estates of late-Jimi Hendrix Experience members Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell. Rolling Stone reported the legal action was prompted by a letter sent to Sony last December from British attorney, Lawrence Abramson, claiming the label owed Redding’s and Mitchell’s estates performance royalties for some three billion streams of the Experience’s songs.”
Experience Hendrix and Sony’s lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York with attorney Dorothy Weber writing, “(The) defendants’ (the Mitchell and Redding estates’) threats of suit have created a real and reasonable apprehension of liability on the part of Plaintiffs (the Hendrix Estate and Sony Music). The threat of such suit by Defendants is sufficiently immediate and real as of the date of this filing, to warrant the issuance of a declaratory judgment of ownership and non-infringement. . . Neither Redding nor Mitchell ever asserted an ownership interest, or any other performers’ rights, in the Recordings.”
According to the Hendrix and Sony brief, bassist Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell signed documents in April 1973 and September 1974, respectively, “releasing the Hendrix estate from legal claims and agreeing not to sue the Hendrix estate” — and were compensated for doing so. The Hendrix estate is seeking a declaratory judgment saying that those contracts are still valid.
CHECK IT OUT: The Jimi Hendrix Experience on May 18th, 1968 performing “Foxey Lady” live at the Miami Pop Festival: