Out of Doors - Supreme Court Rejects 21st Century Doors

How many Doors does it take to make a band. Earlier this month, the Calilfornia Supreme Court decided at least more than two.

In the great frenzy of re-makes and come-backs that seem to characterise the pop culture market at present (is this as good as it gets for recycling?), Raymond Manzarek And Robert Krieger, two surviving members of the 70s group, The Doors, wanted to continue to perform under that name. If it can work for Gary Barlow, then why not?

(At right, the original line-up: from left John Densmore, Ray Manzarek, Jim Morrison and Robert Krieger)

So they set out and toured as The Doors of the 21st Century (I had no idea) and apparently grossed more than US$8 million, using images of the original Doors in their promotional material. Some have suggested that the problem was that the pair dumped the third original member from the line-up, John Densmore, who then joined forces with the families of Jim Morrison and Pamela Courson to prevent Manzarek and Krieger from using the name.

In other reports Densmore states he is simply fulfilling the wishes of Jim Morrison, having refused other lucrative offers for commercials and other use. This is possible due to a "veto power" common in music contracts of the 1960s which requires all members of The Doors to be unanimous in any business agreements. As a result, each band member has a vote and the Morrison estate the fourth. The partnership has had disputes in the past and, although it is reported that Densmore was alone in refusing advertising deals, apparently the Morrison and Courson families joined him in his outrage over The Doors of the 21st Century, particularly the diversion of profits from their tours.

Densmore and the families claimed that if the pair continued to use the name, The Doors of the 21st Century, it would compromise the band's legacy. The Los Angeles Superior Court agreed and the Court of Appeal upheld this decision, 29 May. The pair were subsequently prevented from performing, touring, promoting or otherwise holding themselves out to be The Doors, The Doors of the 21st Century, or any other name that includes the words The Doors without prior written consent of all partners of the Doors partnership (I did however notice they are continuing to use the very 21st-century D21C ...).

The pair went on to petition the California Supreme Court but review was denied 13 August. The Supreme Court agreed (and all puns will be resisted). General counsel for the Morrison family, Lou Reisman, is reported as stating "We are particularly gratified that the court recognized Jim Morrison's iconic stature as a performer, songwriter and poet whose body of work continues to influence musicians and rock groups worldwide."

The pair have been ordered to pay damages and costs estimated at US$5 million. Instead of passing the hat around, they will now be touring as Riders on the Storm (circa 2005).

Merpel is pleased obstacles like band integrity did not persist into the 90s, with no such arrangement in place between Robbie and Gary. Otherwise there might have been a far inferior soundtrack to the Morrisons supermarkets commercials (just a coincidence ...)

(At left: the original legend)
Out of Doors - Supreme Court Rejects 21st Century Doors Out of Doors - Supreme Court Rejects 21st Century Doors Reviewed by Johanna Gibson on Friday, August 22, 2008 Rating: 5

1 comment:

  1. Good shot of the band - I don't remember seeing that one before. The LA Times had the courtesy to credit the photographer, Paul Ferrara...


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