Marley's family had accused UMG of intentionally withholding royalties from their Fifty-Six Hope Road Music company. Marley's widow and children had sought millions in damages for UMG's alleged attempts to 'exploit' his recordings. They also claimed UMG had failed to consult with them on key licensing decisions, among them the use of Marley's music on ringtones.
The albums in question – 'Catch a Fire, Burnin', 'Natty Dread", 'Rastaman Vibrations" and" Exodus" - were recorded by Marley with his band The Wailers. They include some of his best-known songs, including I Shot the Sheriff, One Love and No Woman, No Cry.
On Friday, however, Judge Cote ruled that Marley's recordings were "works made for hire" as defined under US copyright law. Robert Nesta Marley was born in Jamaica in 1945 and died of cancer in the US in 1981. His greatest hits compilation," Legend", is the biggest-selling reggae album of all time.