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Rock stars settle with music archive

August 26, 2008|From Bloomberg News

The 1960s-era rock band the Doors and musician Carlos Santana reached a tentative settlement of claims accusing a music archive of violating their rights by selling merchandise and offering free online recordings.

The musicians and their licensing companies, including Sony BMG Music Entertainment, reached the proposed agreement last week with the Bill Graham Archive and its chief executive, William Sagan, according to a filing in federal court in San Jose.

In 2002, Sagan bought memorabilia and concert tapes created and collected by famed concert promoter Bill Graham, who died in a 1991 helicopter crash, for about $6 million. Sagan's website, Wolfgangsvault.com, sells the items and offers free concerts as streaming audio broadcasts. The musicians sued in 2006, claiming the site violated their copyrights and trademarks.

The settlement doesn't include other plaintiffs in the case, such as Grateful Dead Productions, which sued on behalf of musicians Robert Weir, Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann. Led Zeppelin rockers Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and Robert Plant weren't included either.

In October, U.S. District Judge James Ware dismissed most counterclaims filed by the Bill Graham Archive against the musicians. Sagan had argued that they conspired to destroy his San Francisco-based business by seeking to block the sales.

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