Eric Clapton, Warner Music Group Sued For Copyright Infringement
October 28, 2016 at 12:43 PM (PT)
ERIC CLAPTON and his record company WARNER MUSIC GROUP, are the subjects of a federal copyright suit filed in NASHVILLE by MILES FLOYD, the step-grandson of the late blues artist BO CARTER, asking for $6 million for lifting the melody of “Corrine, Corrina” and wrongly attributing the song to LEAD BELLY, according to the TENNESSEAN.
The song, licensed by CARTER in 1929, has been covered widely by artists such as DEAN MARTIN, JERRY LEE LEWIS, BIG JOE TURNER, BROOKS & DUNN, MERLE HAGGARD, BOB WILLS, LEO KOTTKE, CAB CALLOWAY, WILLIE NELSON, STEPPENWOLF and WYNTON MARSALIS.
“I didn’t realize how important it was until I started looking at it the last couple of years,” FLOYD told the TENNESSEAN. “I was really surprised.” CLAPTON's inclusion of “Corrine, Corrina” on his 2013 re-release of "Unplugged," calling the song "Alberta" and attributing it to LEAD BELLY, triggered the suit.
“This is a situation where you have the estate, the rightful owners of BO’s intellectual property, just trying to get what’s rightfully theirs and get credit where credit is due,” FLOYD's attorney BARRY SHRUM told the TENNESSEAN. “BO created this song and started, in essence, a genre in music and influenced many performers in the future, and he deserves that credit.”
"Corrine, Corrina" has been covered so many times that "variations on the melody has possibly thrown questions about its creation into a legal 'gray area,'” according to the report.
LEAD BELLY covered a take on the song as “Alberta Blues,” replacing “Corrine” with “Alberta.” And it’s possible that even though CARTER copyrighted the song in 1929, it may have been in the public domain before then.
Also named in the suit are SONY/ATV MUSIC PUBLISHING, EMI MILLS MUSIC, INC., RHINO ENTERTAINMENT, VIACOM, FOLKWAYS MUSIC PUBLISHERS, HAL LEONARD LLC, and J.W. PEPPER & SONS. FLOYD reportedly sued ROD STEWART over his version of the song last year, but agreed to dismiss the case last NOVEMBER.