Taylor Swift's decision to re-record her greatest hits in response to the sale of her old music catalogue to Shamrock Capital reminds us of the importance of undertaking due diligence in relation to intangible assets protected under copyright laws.
In many jurisdictions copyright is not registrable and therefore it is not possible to search copyrights in public databases. Whilst conducting conducting due diligence of copyright assets, first to ascertain what are the key assets of the business, and secondly, to establish ownership and the chain of assignment in favour of the seller is likely to be a time consuming and expensive exercise, the importance of this exercise cannot be underestimated. Failure to do so could have material adverse consequences in the future value of the business's assets.
The reason, according to Swift, is that Braun “will continue to profit off my old musical catalogue for many years”. She called that proposition a “non-starter”, the latest episode in a long-running feud that has divided the top echelons of pop royalty