David Bowie’s Ex-Manager Unable to Elude his $9.5M Judgment

A New York judge has ruled that Anthony Defries, David Bowe’s former manager, is still responsible for paying the $9.5 million judgment against him from 2012.

In 2011, parties including Capitol Records LLC, EMI Music Inc., and Jones/Tintoretto Entertainment Co, LLC sued Defries and MMRX (Defries’ legal business entity) for willful copyright infringement of musical compositions and recordings by artists including Bowie, Iggy Pop, and John Mellancamp. The plaintiffs claimed that Defries had sold copies of these songs through Amazon, iTunes, Spotify, and Napster, even though he did not own the song distribution rights. Additionally, Defries had previously sold all of his rights to the master recordings & underlying compositions to Bowie and the plaintiffs, violating their sales contract.

For his recent bid, Defries, who appeared pro se, claimed that the plaintiffs had secured their default judgment in 2011 when no answer was filed. As a result, he did not have the opportunity to raise the defense that the court lacked personal jurisdiction over him, since he was a California resident and MMRX was a nonexistent legal entity. However, the judge denied Defries application, holding that there was a lack of a case or controversy. Defries is not ready to give up and is willing to fight the judgment all the way up to the Supreme Court.

Capitol Records LLC et al. v. Defries et al., case number 1:11-cv-06808 (S.D.N.Y.)

Melissa Lipman, “Ex-Bowie Manager Under Pressure in Copyright Suit, ” Law360 (September 30, 2011), https://www.law360.com/articles/274931/ex-bowie-manager-under-pressure-in-copyright-suit

Kelly Knaub, “Ex-Bowie Manager Can’t Undo $9M Copyright Loss,” Law360 (January 4, 2017), https://www.law360.com/articles/877220/ex-bowie-manager-can-t-undo-9m-copyright-loss