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TF theme writer, Anne Brynt sues Sunbow

Posted by:
Jason at 2006-12-08 10:33 pm
TF theme writer, Anne Brynt sues Sunbow. Interseting press release.

SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK
COUNTY OF ROCKLAND
Index No. 5192/00
Index No. 2821/02

*** PRESS RELEASE ***

December 7, 2006, Carmel, NY

After six years of grueling litigation and four appeals which were won by her in 2006, the composer of the well-known Transformers Theme, The JEM Theme and feature songs from the JEM TV SHOW, and several other American, pop culture musical themes and songs originally composed in the 80’s for HASBRO Toys and Entertainment Properties, is finally getting her days in Court at trial in a tiny courtroom in New York Supreme Court in Carmel, NY. Anne Bryant, the composer, is seeking to recover an accounting of and payment of both performance and publishing royalties she claims should be paid to her from the producer-publisher, SUNBOW PRODUCTIONS, NY [which is now owned by its parent company LOONLAND AG, Germany] for millions of CD, VHS and DVD sales and licenses which she says use her music without paying her the royalties she says she is owed. On the eve of the December 4th trial, Bryant says she suddenly received a small check from TV Loonland for "music royalties" but Bryant says, although it is an admission of responsibility, it is a mere drop in the bucket.

The composer is also suing her performing rights society BMI claiming among other things that it allowed changes to be made to her song catalog without her authorization.

According to Bryant, the long road to trial began when she discovered that her 100% composer’s share of the hugely valuable Transformers Theme music had been reduced to a small fraction in her BMI writer’s catalogue. BMI’s counsel, Judith Saffer argues that it is not possible for BMI to police the catalogues of its many affiliated writers because they have no way of knowing if the new registrations they accept for the same title are accurate. In Saffer’ view, it’s up to the BMI writer to bring a court action against another writer if there is an infringement. Bryant says that BMI’s stated position is to remain neutral but then asks why BMI would not protect its writers by at least checking with the original registrant when a song with the same title is later presented for registration. "Others are being unjustly enriched by my music," says the composer. "It appears to me that BMI writers cannot expect their works to be safeguarded by BMI"- a performance rights organization that represents more than 300,000 affiliated songwriters, composers and publishers. The composer also claims that because of BMI’s laissez faire position, these corrupted registrations have diminished her writer’s royalties across the board, finding their way into her SONY ATV catalogue, after Sunbow passed on the altered publishing catalogues to the mega-publisher. Bryant also claims that she is not given credit for her songs in three newlyproduced Transformers television series airing on The Cartoon Network.

The composer hopes to be made whole for the millions of dollars in back royalties due to her since 1994 for her many valuable themes. And with the DreamWorks TRANSFORMERS LIVE ACTION MOVIE [#1] scheduled for release on July 4, 2007, she also seeks to secure her professional screen credits, in the event that the Dreamworks movie uses her theme.

Bryant has been represented by Patrick J. Monaghan of Monaghan, Monaghan, Lamb & Marchisio a small New Jersey and New York firm. Monaghan has represented and won settlements in the past on behalf of the former managers of the artists Meat Loaf and Billy Joel in separate cases. Sunbow is represented by Gloria Phares, Esq. a partner in the New York law firm of Patterson, Belknap, & Webb. BMI is represented by its in-house counsel Judith Saffer, Esq. Bryant says she will sue anyone who is using her music without authority. "The Transformers best days are yet to come," she says. "I look to the Court to achieve justice and secure accurate royalty accountings and payments to me in the future." I have faith in the American judicial system and I am not going to be cowed into submission by a huge corporation with millions to spend on lawyers.

Comments
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Knightwing said,  - 2006-12-09 09:29:59
With all things of this nature, one must realize there is more to know than we will ever know. There are just too many details. I know nothing of the industry, but I wouldn't be supprised if there were a scaling down of royalties percentages over time. It may just be standard. Then agian if she made it to NY supreme court, she certinly has a case.

Best of luck to her.
johari said,  - 2006-12-10 02:17:29
Royalties themselves will change with the economy as a matter of course, but the percentages the royalties are derived from are supposed to remain the way they are documented in whatever signed agreement the composer and author have with the publisher. This is (supposedly) the reason songwriters join performance rights unions like BMI. The performance rights union's primary function is to make sure writers get paid for their works. Man, I'm glad I'm a card-carrying member of ASCAP and not BMI! I really do hope she wins the case, not just as a fellow songwriter, but because someone that inextricably linked to Transformers (and as such, a part of my childhood) deserves to be rewarded for their creations.

'Til all are one!
Johari
www.myspace.com/johari
Knightwing said,  - 2006-12-10 13:37:13
That's good to know. As a garbageman I've little use for songwriters unions. In fact, I'm not in any union of any kind.
Perceptor said,  - 2006-12-10 19:38:49
Very interesting commentary Johari. Thanks for stopping by and posting your insights. Please post again!

This sort of thing is interesting but hard to have an opinion without more of the facts. Hope she gets what she deserves and has earned.
jack said,  - 2006-12-11 06:54:43
what a prick
Byrer prime said,  - 2006-12-11 19:23:05
I believe she was in litigation long before the movie was announced, so don't think she's just after a quick buck.
Darth Servo said,  - 2006-12-13 16:14:55
As big of a Transformer fan that I am, I was never all that impressed with the TV show theme song.
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