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Wednesday, 10 May, 2000, 11:02 GMT 12:02 UK
Singer Bolton loses copyright row
Bolton (centre) with Hillary Clinton:
Bolton (centre) with Hillary Clinton: The singer claims he had not heard of The Isley Brothers song
Singer Michael Bolton has lost his appeal against a court ruling that he stole part of his 1991 hit Love Is a Wonderful Thing from an Isley Brothers song.

Bolton, 47, had asked for a retrial following a 1994 jury verdict that he had plagiarised parts of The Isley Brothers song of the same name.

But, on Tuesday, an appeals court panel upheld the ruling which awarded the group $5.4m (3.37m) from the profits of Bolton's single - one of his biggest hits.


Bolton's latest hit album Timeless
Bolton's latest hit album Timeless - The Classics Vol II

"In this case, The Isley Brothers undoubtedly contributed something original to Love Is a Wonderful Thing,'' the panel said.

"Having found that the law was properly applied in this case, we leave the district court's decisions and the jury's credibility determinations undisturbed.''

Ronald Isley sued Bolton in 1994 for copyright violation, claiming he had incorporated elements of The Isley Brothers tune and words into his own hit.

Following the decision of the appeals panel, John McNicholas, representative for the Isley Brothers, said: "It is a wonderful, wonderful victory for the jury system."

Bolton's legal representative could not be reached for comment.

Widespread popularity

The appeals court panel supported the 1994 verdict that awarded Ronald and Marvin Isley 66% of past and future royalties from Bolton's single.


Michael Bolton's hit singles
Can I Touch You ... There
When A Man Loves A Woman
How Can We Be Lovers
Love Is A Wonderful Thing

The award also included 28% of past and future royalties from Bolton's album Time, Love and Tenderness.

The album has sold 13 million copies worldwide and earned Bolton and co-writer Andrew Goldmark a Grammy Award.

At the time of the original verdict, Bolton said the jury's decision would cost him millions of dollars.

He also claimed that neither he nor Goldmark had even heard of Isley Brothers song at the centre of the dispute.


Michael Bolton with Grammy
Bolton receives one of his two Grammys

The Isley Brothers enjoyed widespread popularity in the 1960s with hits such as Lonely Teardrops, Twist and Shout and Fight the Power.

The appeals court said it was therefore likely that the group had made an impression on Bolton and Goldmark when they were younger.

"It is entirely plausible that two Connecticut teenagers obsessed with rhythm and blues music could remember an Isley Brothers' song that was played on the radio and television for a few weeks and subconsciously copy it 20 years later," the panel said.

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09 May 00 | Entertainment
The music industry's MP3 headache
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