(Photo: ANP). On 7 July 2017, the Supreme Court ruled in the field of music law and copyright, in the case between music publisher Nanada Music and the members of the band Golden Earring. The judgment is important for the music industry, because it decided under what conditions music publishing contracts can be terminated.

Nanada Music, the music publisher established in 1968 by Willem van Kooten, is the publisher of a part of the repertoire of Golden Earring. In the proceedings the Supreme Court had to decide whether the band members have validly terminated the publishing contracts with Nanada. The band members are of the opinion that the contracts can be terminated even without reason. Nanada takes the view that this is not possible because the contracts were concluded for the duration of the copyright and Nanada has always made sufficient efforts to exploit the songs. The Supreme Court was therefore asked whether the music publishing agreements can be terminated and under what conditions.  

The Supreme Court is of the opinion that publishing contracts cannot be terminated by the author just like that, but in principle only if there is a ‘sufficiently compelling reason’ for doing so. The right of dissolution arises only after the author has given the publisher a reasonable period of time to exploit the work to a sufficient extent and there is no exploitation within this period. The Supreme Court explicitly recognises the importance of investments by music publishers. If publishing contracts can be terminated at any desired moment, the publisher will be less (quickly) willing to make these investments.

Bergh Stoop & Sanders is acting for music publisher Nanada Music in this case.  

Read the judgment here