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A group of artists have been denied class-action status in a lawsuit focusing on termination rights and Universal Music Group.

The case has been bubbling since early 2019, when musician John Waite and other artists sued UMG and (separately) Sony Music, claiming that the major labels had refused to honour their termination rights.

Those are the rights to reclaim music copyrights after a set period of time, although there’s a long-running argument in the US about whether recordings are subject to these rights in the same way that songs (compositions) are.

Anyway, the judge in the UMG case has ruled that it cannot be certified as a class action.

“The … analysis requires understanding for each artist the circumstances in which the recordings were produced, the creative involvement, if any, of the record label, and the types of resources and payments the record label provided the artist,” he ruled.

The artists can still sue individually, and this ruling does not mean they might not win those cases, but as Billboard points out, it does mean they’ll be facing the legal costs of doing so individually rather than as a group.

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