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A Michigan composer has filed a copyright claim for music used for episodes of the TV programs “Xena: Warrior Princess,” “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys” and “Young Hercules.” Dan Kolton, 43, of Ferndale, was a ghostwriter for Oakland County, Mich., resident Joe LoDuca. The music lists LoDuca as the only composer. Now Kolton wants credit, legal copyright and the right to collect royalties on the music he wrote. Kolton said Wednesday that when he began working on the TV shows, it wasn’t clear that he would be a ghostwriter and would not be credited. He was paid for his work, he said, but there was no written agreement about compensation. “I didn’t realize until fairly recently that I had a legal way to deal with what I thought was right in the first place,” Kolton said. “I didn’t realize there was anything I could do about it.” A message seeking comment from LoDuca was not returned Wednesday. Kolton wrote music for the TV shows between 1995 and 1999 at LoDuca’s request, but there was no written contractual agreement regarding copyrights, said Kolton’s lawyer, Brian Lee Corber. “He had no knowledge of the kinds of rights being created by his creative musical endeavors,” Corber said. “Most music creators do not understand the necessity for registering the copyright in their works.” Kolton registered a nine-page copyright claim with the Registrar of Copyrights office in the spring. Corber said the claim was filed because it was necessary to do so before filing a copyright infringement lawsuit in federal court. Corber said Kolton’s case could alter the way the entertainment industry handles ghostwriting. “In the music arena especially, there are many … whose original work is claimed by those who never participated in the creative process,” he said. “My hope is that the person who created the work reaps the benefit from that work.” Corber said Kolton possibly could make millions of dollars in royalties and from prospective licensees. “Mr. Kolton’s copyright is for his lifetime, plus 70 years,” he said. “That is quite a lot of time to reap the benefits from his copyright.” The “Xena” and “Hercules” series are syndicated through Universal Television and Studios USA. Jim Benson, spokesman for Universal Domestic Television, said he had not heard of Kolton’s filing. Copyright 2002 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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