Jimi Hendrix’s estate sues heirs of former bandmates over royalties and copyrights threats

The Estate of Jimi Hendrix has recently sued the heirs of the trailblazing guitarist’s former bandmates. It is alleged that they threatened the estate to sue for millions of pounds in the case of unpaid royalties dating back decades in the UK Court after which the estate decided to sue them. Lawrence Abramson, a British lawyer is representing the families of bassist David Noel Redding and drummer John Graham ‘Mitch’ Mitchell in this whole matter from the very first day. He served to cease and desist notice to the Estate of Jimi Hendrix in the month of December 2021. In this notice, families claimed two major things while threatening the Estate of initiating legal proceedings against them:

  1. All the agreements executed by Mitchell and Redding are invalid, and
  2. They owned a stake in Hendrix’s music which should be given to them.

The Hendrix Estate and Sony Music are allegedly the only two exclusive licensees of Hendrix’s music which is jointly owned by Hendrix Experience LLC and Authentic Hendrix LLC. A case has been filed on January 18, 2022, in Manhattan, New York City by Hendrix Estate and Sony Music. They requested the court for a legal declaration stating that they owe nothing to anyone.

They said, “The claims are invalid given that Redding and Mitchell signed broad general releases and agreements not to sue in exchange for significant monetary consideration after Hendrix’s death. Redding signed in April 1973 and Mitchell in September 1974 agreeing to release the Hendrix Estate from legal claims.” However, it is a very interesting fact that Hendrix and Sony are not suing for any sort of damages, but seeking a ruling exonerating them of all the claims made by representatives of Redding and Mitchell.

Hendrix started the Jimi Hendrix Experience in the year 1966. They successfully scored several hits, particularly in the UK. Their famous songs include their cover of ‘All Along the Watchtower’ and originals ‘Voodoo Chile’ and ‘Purple Haze’. However, the group broke up in the year 1969 when Redding departed.

Hendrix died in the month of September 1970 at the very young age of 27. On the other hand, Redding died in the year 2003 and Mitchell in the year 2008. Lawyers for the group’s rhythm section seemed claiming, “Both died in relative poverty having never received their true entitlement from their works, performances and founding member of the Jimi Hendrix Experience.” This case involves the validity of agreements executed by Mitchell and Redding and everything is based upon that only. Keeping a track of this case will definitely help in understanding the requisites of a valid agreement.