MC5 news- court settlement

by Jason Gross

29 November 2005


Press release from MuscleTone records:


United States District Court Judge John J. Feikens of the Eastern District of Michigan dismissed a federal lawsuit filed by the widow and children of the late Rob Tyner (aka Robert Derminer), former lead singer of the MC5, against the band’s surviving members and managers. Mr. Tyner died in 1991.

The judge’s ruling is a victory for the group’s surviving members Michael Davis, Wayne Kramer and Dennis Thompson as well as their managers and respective companies.

Ms. Derminer claimed the MC5’s surviving members had infringed copyrights, and the MC5 trademark, which is jointly owned by Ms. Derminer and the surviving members. He ruled that Ms. Derminer failed to prove her ownership interest in the alleged copyrighted works. He also determined that Ms. Derminer could not bring trademark infringement claims against the co-owners Davis, Kramer and Thompson.

Judge Feikens’ ruling follows the July 2005 denial by Magistrate Judge Mona Majzoub of Ms. Derminer’s request for a preliminary injunction against the group. Magistrate Judge Majzoub issued a 24-page opinion stating, among other things, that Ms. Derminer possessed “unclean hands” with respect to her claims of exploitation of the group’s copyrights, trademark and accounting revenues, and that, as a result, Ms. Derminer and her family were unlikely to succeed on the merits of their case.

“We are pleased with the judge’s decision. Becky Derminer’s repeated harassment of our clients is tiresome and disingenuous,” said Margaret Saadi Kramer, Wayne Kramer’s long-time manager. “Angela Davis and I will continue to defend our clients’ right to work.”

During the late 1960s and early 1970s, the MC5 composed and recorded three full-length albums, but are best known for their controversial hit “Kick Out The Jams.”  The last performance of the original lineup was in December 1972.

In recent years, the surviving members of this influential band have reunited to perform concerts throughout the world. They also periodically release recordings of their work, most recently last year’s successful DVD “Sonic Revolution: A Celebration of the MC5.”

“This is a vindication of our clients’ position. Their intellectual property rights have been upheld,” said J. Michael Huget of Butzel Long, the Detroit-based firm which represents the surviving members.

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