No reason for any of us to be interested in the Smiths’ labyrinthine legal affairs, but this statement from Morrissey (copied from here) is morbidly fascinating…I end up feeling sorry for everybody involved in this mess.
Statement from Morrissey:
The latest statements from M Joyce on a BBC 6 radio interview as faithfully reported on the MorrisseySoLow site have been brought to my attention and I feel I should make this reply as an attempt to put the matter straight.
1. From ’83 to ’87 M Joyce happily and willingly received 10% of Smiths recording royalties.
2. In ’89, as is documented, Joyce sued Morrissey & Marr for 25% of Smiths recording royalties.
3. In ’96, Joyce took his claim to court – and on the basis of the 1890 Partnership Act the judge awarded Joyce 25%.
4. In ’97, M Joyce was paid 215 thousand pounds from me, and 215 thousand pounds from Johnny Marr.
5. In ’99, Joyce appeared on British television and made the statement: “There was no contract saying we were gonna get 25%.”
6. In 2001, as a final payment of back royalties, Johnny Marr paid Joyce 260 thousand pounds, plus “costs.” At this time I was in the US and was not served with court proceedings, so Joyce obtained a Default Judgment. He then put forward a claim from me for 688 thousand pounds – well above and beyond the amount Johnny Marr was ordered to pay. In my absence, the figure was not contested.
7. Since 2001, and because of the Default Judgment against me, Joyce has taken out Third Party Orders against the following societies: my personal bank account in England, Smiths royalties from Warner Music, my personal PRS royalties, my personal PPL royalties, and he has attempted to seize UK concert fees from venue to venue. This money, to date, totals 700 thousand pounds. This figure is in addition to the figures mentioned above.
8. By grabbing the full total of Smiths royalties from Warner Music (and this means that when the public buy a Smiths CD in the UK, the royalties go to Joyce, and have done so since 2001) Joyce has knowingly deprived Andy Rourke of his 10% Smiths royalties, and has deprived producers John Porter, Stephen Street, Grant Showbiz and Steve Lillywhite (for “Ask”) of their entitlements. Joyce did not declare to the courts that others – namely, the above – were also beneficiaries to the Warner Music royalties.
9. In 2001, Joyce attempted to seize both my mother’s house and my sister’s house by claiming that I had taken my assets out of the UK; he made this claim even though he had direct access to all of the above – which are in the UK. Joyce eventually dropped both of these claims due to lack of evidence, and he refused to pay the 150 thousand pounds that it had cost me to defend his groundless claims. Joyce also dropped his claim as co-composer with Johnny M on Smiths compositions, and Joyce also dropped his claim for Producer royalties on Smiths recordings, and Joyce also dropped his claim for a share of Artwork payments given to me for providing Smiths record sleeves. There were, in fact, no payments to me for Smiths Artwork. Joyce made a further claim for 25% of all Smiths t-shirts sold during the ’83 to ’87 period, even though there was no evidence that any royalty for t-shirts had been received by either myself or Johnny Marr.
10. In legal fees alone, Joyce has cost me 600 thousand pounds – this is quite apart from any payments made to him, and is quite apart from any money seized by him. In total, Joyce has cost me 1 million, 515 thousand pounds. This is an approximate figure – it could even be higher.
11. The Joyce action is continuous. Because of his Default Judgment he continues to take my royalties, and the royalties of others mentioned above, from Warner Music – consequently I have not received record royalties since 2001.
12. Since 2001, the money claimed by Joyce is charged, to me, at 100 pounds a day in interest.
13. During the Smiths’ lifetime, when Joyce willingly took a 10% royalty, he did not contribute towards any expenses of any kind, did not take on any Partnership duties or responsibilities, and he received his 10% as gross earnings.
The point I wish to make is this: Joyce is not poor, unless, living as he does in the Cheshire green-belt, he lives beyond his means. Somehow, he appears to believe that he should have equal financial status to both myself and to Johnny Marr, even though Joyce has done dramatically less than Johnny and I to attain the positions we now have.
Joyce is not poor because of one reason – me. His career now is the fictitious position of an unpaid ex-member of the Smiths. He has also pursued all of his claims on Legal Aid.
I don’t make this statement in search of sympathy from anyone, but I wish that the people at MorrisseySoLow who support Joyce would at least get their facts right before they say anything. Even with his 10% share, Joyce was wealthy. Now, he is extremely wealthy.
What more does he want?
I have fought the Joyce action as much as I could over the years, but the simple truth is that, under British law, the word of a judge will not be overturned. In the absence of any evidence from the 1980s, the judge in this case relied upon the Partnership Act of 1890 to help Joyce win his claim. Joyce has exploited the judge’s final verdict in order to get as much as he can from me, from Johnny Marr, and also from Andy Rourke.
Finally, Joyce does not have the legal right to sell unreleased Smiths material – it belongs to Warner Music. Joyce did not pay for the recording time under which any demo material was recorded. Furthermore, Joyce cannot sell any unreleased work by Johnny Marr or Andy Rourke without, at very least, their permission.
Thanks for reading this,