L.A. Judge Rules to Kick Out the Logjam

MC5 - Teen Age Lust

He sides with makers of MC5 documentary

In the chaotic world that has become the business of the MC5, at least one big mess just got cleaned up. A federal judge in Los Angeles ruled in favor of the producers of the documentary "MC5: A True Testimonial" in a lawsuit over the use of the classic Detroit band's songs.

MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer sued the Chicago film studio Future/Now Productions in 2005, claiming the documentary violated his copyrights by featuring material that was not authorized for use. He sought $75,000 in damages and profits from the film.

The March 31 ruling clears one obstacle for a release of "True Testimonial," about the rise and fall of the celebrated '60s band. The film, in which Kramer prominently appears, garnered glowing reviews during its limited run on the festival circuit in 2003 and 2004.

Kramer's song publisher, Warner-Chappell, authorized the use of the MC5's songs for the festival tour and a Detroit screening in 2004. But later it declined to license the material for the film's general release.

Kramer sued after the documentary was shown in a handful of theaters and clips were included in an educational DVD for aspiring filmmakers.

In a case that drove home the complexities of song licensing -- and the often emotionally charged world of rock 'n' roll -- U.S. district judge Andrew Guilford ruled that the film's producers did not violate Kramer's copyright or breach his contract.

Details here from Brian McCollum of the Detroit Free Press.