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Jack White's Third Man Records Facing Copyright Dispute Over The Paramount Records Wonder-Cabinet

February 5, 2014  |  1:00pm
Jack White's Third Man Records Facing Copyright Dispute Over <i>The Paramount Records Wonder-Cabinet</i>

Third Man and Revenant Records—who released The Paramount Records Wonder-Cabinet —a Paramount Records tribute collection featuring jazz, blues and gospel from artists like Louis Armstrong and Son House—is now being accused of copyright infringement by The George H. Buck Jr. Jazz Foundation for stealing 800 remastered tracks on the vinyl set’s first volume, The Rise and Fall of Paramount Records 1917-1932.

Louisiana music magazine Offbeat ran a statement from Lars Edegran, jazz musician and representative for the foundation, where he said that even though Third Man Records claims the Paramount recordings are in the public domain, he has documented proof that the foundation purchased the catalogue of music in 1970. Here’s a closer look at the story:

“GHB Jazz Foundation, a non-profit organization that specializes in keeping jazz and other American musical forms available to the public by issuing LPs, CDs, books and videos, claims ownership of the rights to the Paramount (and its associated labels) sound recordings. GHB purchased the Paramount catalogue from John Steiner of Chicago in 1970,” Edegran said in a statement.

“Steiner himself acquired Paramount from the Wisconsin Chair Company (the original owner) in the late 1940s. There are documents for both of these transactions. Sound recordings published before 1972 are not under federal copyright but are covered under common law or state anti-piracy statues. Third Man/Revenant Records claim that Paramount recordings are in the public domain.”

Dean Blackwood, lawyer and co-founder of Revenant Records, said proof of ownership still hasn’t been provided.

“We informed the foundation that we would gladly come to an agreement with them if they could prove ownership of the recordings,” Blackwood wrote in an email to Offbeat. “To date, they haven’t produced anything that proves ownership. And although there is a more than 50-year history of labels large and small reissuing this material without their involvement, we remain open to discussions with them if they can prove ownership of the recordings.”

Offbeat said Edegran is currently working out the legal proceedings with the two labels on behalf of the foundation.

The second edition of The Paramount Record’s Wonder-Cabinet will be available for purchase in November.

Check out Third Man Record’s video description of the box set below.

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