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Business News (more headlines) 03-08-2017

Legal Battle Brewing Over Rights To The Songs Popularized By The Iconic Cartoon Musical Group "The Archies"

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Essential Media Group, LLC., the owner of the master recordings made by the fictionalized, animated musical group known as "The Archies" of the comic book and Saturday morning cartoon series "Archie and Friends" is seeking an injunction and legal damages against hired session player and lead singer Ron Dante after he made ownership claims to the material.

Essential is represented by Richard Wolfe of Wolfe Law Miami. Wolfe said the complaint was filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court (Case# 2017-003359-CA-01).

"We are asking a judge to enter a temporary and permanent injunction prohibiting Dante from interfering with Essential's business and contractual relationships with respect to the master recordings," he said. "We believe it is odd that he would attempt to declare ownership of the songs 48 years after the original recordings."

Essential repackages, markets, distributes, and licenses recorded masters of various genres of music. The company entered into a non-exclusive license through a series of agreements with Jerry Williams c/o of Atomic Art Productions and Jerry C. Wilson with Kirshner Records, the creator and owner of the music recordings for the children's cartoon series "Archie and Friends." The main character Archie Andrews, and his friends Veronica, Betty, Jughead and Reggie formed a band called "The Archies" and regularly performed songs on the show.

The recordings released in 1968 achieved pop culture success on television and radio. According to Billboard, the song "Sugar, Sugar" was the number one single of the year in 1969 and was a worldwide smash selling more than one million units, certifying it as a gold record by the RIAA.

According to the lawsuit, Essential proposed to license one of "The Archies" master recordings known as "Hide and Seek" to Sony Pictures Entertainment for use in a TV show titled "The Get Down," in return for a licensing fee of $25,000.

The lawsuit states without justification, Dante asserted the he, not Essential, had the legal rights to the master recordings and without justification, he interfered in the contractual and advantageous business relationship between Essential and Sony.

"Dante has intentionally, maliciously, and unjustifiably interfered with the relationships that Essential enjoys with its licensees by, among other things, falsely claiming that he not essential has the rights to license the master recordings."

Wolfe said the case will be heard before Miami Circuit Court Judge Gisela Cardonne Ely.

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