(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) —
In an opinion entered on January 20, the Court of Appeals for Middle Division of Tennessee unanimously affirmed the earlier court verdict that the estate of Hank Williams – namely Jett Williams and Hank Williams Jr. – are the sole owners of the valuable and historical performances by Hank Williams on the radio shows aired on WSM radio and sponsored by Mothers’ Best Flour in the early 1950s.
These recordings comprised scores of previous unreleased Williams performances and have been the subject of almost a decade of litigation titting Jett and Hank Jr. against Legacy Entertainment Group, LLC., which sought to exploit these performances, and Polygram Records, Inc., which claimed ownership of all Hank Williams performances, under Hank’s original recording contract with MGM Records.<P
Jett Williams and Hank Williams Jr. sued to prevent the commercial exploitation of these recordings by third parties claiming they were the sole owners of their dad’s performances. The Chancery Court of Davidson County agreed in a 2003 ruling. The Court of Appeals affirmed saying convoluted claim to any ownership position by Legacy, if turned into a country song it would be entitled “I Found A Goldmine in the Radio Station Trash.” The court in affirming the lower court ruling in all respects went on to say a country music song titled more appropriately legal status of the defendant was “Your Bucket Has A Hole In It.”
Jett, in commenting on the long awaited ruling said, “I am delighted at long last this treasure trove of previously unreleased material will finally be available to my daddy’s fans. A whole new generation will be introduced to a whole new catalog of Hank’s music…a catalog for the first time ever controlled by his children rather than the record label.”
Hank Jr. added, “It’s been a long struggle…but a valid and important one, and I can’t think of a better time for ‘new’ material by my dad to be released fifty-three years after his death. He must be smiling today.”
Keith Adkinson, Jett Williams’ husband and lawyer speaking on behalf of himself and Vince Chieffo of California who worked with him on this case observed, “It is also hugely significant that the court ruled Polygram had no ownership rights under the terms of its old contract with Hank Williams to anything other than the recordings he made for Phonograph Records. We said it all along, and now that the courts have agreed this ruling has far reaching implications for those older artists who entered into similar contracts with recording labels decades ago – all these years they have been lead to believe that their record labels owned something other than the original recordings made by them for phonograph records.” –Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen