The management company of singer-songwriter Barry Manilow has been granted summary judgment on a copyright claim over the rights in two live concert films brought by the film company which worked on them.

The films were Barry Manilow: Music and Passion Live and Barry Manilow: Songs from the Seventies.

The first was a film of performances during the Copacabana crooner’s 2004 Las Vegas concert residency Barry Manilow: Music and Passion, and the second was a film of a specially created show performed in front of a small audience in 2007.

After Manilow’s management company Hastings, Clayton & Tucker (HCT) acquired and registered the copyright in the films, the claimant, STV, brought a claim to enforce its rights as co-author of the works.

The company said that it was responsible for the logistics, financing, behind the scenes footage and assistance in editing of the two works, and that it had been involved in pitching the projects and negotiating the agreement with a broadcaster, hiring the production crew and director, securing the location of the shoot, and coordinating logistics of the shows.

In giving judgment for HTC the Judge found that “the undisputed evidence shows that Manilow was the master mind of the work”.

He went on to say that there was “no cited evidence that STV had artistic control” and that in spite of its “valuable” contributions to the films, such contributions were “not sufficient to create authorship”.

Following the outcome, HTC’s lawyers said “This lawsuit lacked merit and we are glad the court saw it for what it was.”

Concert films and other film or TV productions can raise complex rights issues, and this case shows that it is better to resolve them by agreement at the outset rather than through the courts.