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Thursday, December 10, 1998 Published at 11:43 GMT


'The Boss' wins High Court battle

Bruce Springsteen: End of his legal battle against Masquerade

Bruce Springsteen has won his legal battle with a British record company.

BBC Correspondent John Andrew was at the High Court
The American rock legend was seeking damages from Middlesex-based Masquerade Music, which had been trying to release an album of songs he wrote and recorded 26 years ago when he was 23.

Mr Justice Ferris granted the singer, whose hits include Born In The USA and Dancing In The Dark, an injunction stopping the company from releasing the album.

The judge awarded Springsteen his 500,000 court costs against Masquerade, whose lawyers said they would take the case to the appeal court.

'I was here for my music'

Mr Justice Ferris also allowed the rock star to seek damages of 2m against Robert Tringham, the man who ran the now defunct Flute International Ltd, for breaches of copyright.

Linda Duffin reports for the BBC from the High Court in London
After the hearing Springsteen said: "I am very happy. I was not here for the money but for my music."

He added: "The music that is released is the way that you shape your career. It is a big part of what you say and they way you say it."

Flute, which was not pursued in the High Court action because it is in compulsory liquidation, released the Springsteen songs on albums entitled Unearthed and Unearthed II in 1996.

[ image: Ron Winter, the managing director of Masquerade Music, leaves the High Court]
Ron Winter, the managing director of Masquerade Music, leaves the High Court
Masquerade imported 75 copies of the CD Before the Fame in 1997 and "threatened to release many further copies of this disc", said the judge.

Springsteen accused the company of pirating the music he first recorded in 1972, before his first album, Greetings From Astbury Park.

Springsteen's counsel, Nigel Davis, QC, said the early recordings made and written by him "before he became famous are valuable" because of the following he has.

Attack on Springsteen's artistic integrity

The Masquerade CD would have contained 19 songs, which were never released or were out-takes from early albums.

Mr Davis claimed Masquerade's attempts to release the songs were damaging to his client because it was an attack on his artistic integrity - the songs were often not used on his albums because they were not up to his standard.

Masquerade claimed it had a legal right to the songs.

Asked about his reasons for taking the court action, Springsteen, who is performing at an Amnesty International concert in Paris later on Thursday, said: "I came here to defend my music. It is something I have fought for since I was young."

His counsel, Nigel Davis QC, told the judge at a hearing in October that the early recordings, which had never been legitimately released, were valuable because of Springsteen's massive following throughout the world.

Singer's claims upheld

He said his client owned the copyright to the songs and Masquerade's attempt to claim ownership and release the recordings was an attack on his artistic integrity.

Mr Davis said after the judgement: "Mr Springsteen is very pleased that his claims to ownership of the words and music have been entirely upheld and vindicated.

"It is to be regretted that it proved necessary to have a fully contested trial to establish those rights but Mr Springsteen is determined to take all necessary steps to prevent the unauthorised release of his output."

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