The lawsuit and the results

 

Why were the Eroc albums not available on CD up to this day?

For more than five years Eroc fought a lawsuit against Universal Music, the current owner of Metronome and Polydor. He challenged the position that the record company could release his LP’s on the new media of CD without first re-negotiating the original contracts – which had been drafted with specific restrictions to vinyl. In 1998 Universal, believing it could, went ahead and released CD’s from the old albums without even informing Eroc about that. Thus Eroc was forced to initiate a legal proceeding.

Although Eroc won the first two instances at the Berlin Regional Court and the Berlin Court of Appeal, Universal pushed the case up to the German Federal High Court. Then, in an act without equal in the history of the justice system, the courts and music industry colluded to ‘retroactively’ change the law. In spite of it all, Eroc – in a battle resembling a modern day David vs. Goliath – stood tall against dark forces in a wicked game, and in April 2004 a final decision was announced: Eroc’s suit was rejected due to a “re-work” in the Author’s Law. The music industry string pullers had achieved their desired goal. Thus Universal was in the clear and Eroc also had now to fork up the cash for the whole endeavor(!).

It was a complete departure from the law and truer to a banana republic proceeding than one in a modern German state: while a case is kept sleeping in a drawer somewhere in some judge’s filing cabinet at the High Court for two years, a scramble is taking place behind the scenes to change the crucial paragraph needed to expand the range of record industry rights to own an artist. When the dust finally settled the lawsuit no longer had any relevance. The dangerous precedents were successfully blocked. Precedents, which would have rocked the industry to its foundation: Eroc’s case would have opened the flood-gates for many other artists to come knocking. Simply stated: it would have been a coup de tat for artists and a nightmare for the music industry.

Finally, neither the German Federal High Court - which on the one hand claimed to be „surprised“ about the law’s rework yet on the other hand justified its decision on the fiction that Eroc is not the author of his own works of art, nor the Berlin Court of Appeal - which rejected Eroc’s principal witness prior to issuing their final decision on the basis of being „too late“, nor the German Federal Constitutional Court - which wiped Eroc’s complaint off their desks with the tepid arguments „elapsed periods” and “no further public interest”, saw the justification for further action due to the unbelievable procedures described above. This shows one more time, how the German courts interpret the term “constitutional state” ad absurdum by means of lack of interest and incompetence.

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