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Marley Biopic Hits Snag Over Music Rights

The anticipated Bob Marley biopic based on the book by his wife Rita has hit a snag over music rights.

The reggae great's family issued a statement dated Monday saying that they have had numerous requests over the years to license his music for various projects and "all of them have been declined, including the proposed Weinstein production of Rita Marley's book 'No Woman, No Cry.'"

"When I sold the film rights to my book the contract did not include any rights to use my husband's music," Rita Marley stated. "Though I am the head of the Marley family each decision is made democratically amongst all of us. I requested an exception be made for my book to be turned into a movie but that request was declined."

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The family has already licensed the music to a theatrical documentary directed by Martin Scorsese and co-produced by Shangri-La Entertainment and the family's Tuff Gong Pictures.

"All our efforts and support are currently directed towards the documentary," said Marley's son Ziggy. "We believe that this project is the best way to represent our father's life from his perspective and any other film project pertaining to our father will be empty without his music to support it."

The family is reportedly concerned that the documentary and the biopic will be released too close together.

"Martin Scorsese doesn't want to go out with a competing project," Marley's music publisher Chris Blackwell told the Hollywood Reporter.

The biopic was expected to be released in 2009, and the documentary the following February to coincide with what would have been Marley's 65th birthday.

Blackwell said that he would like to see the biopic delayed until 2015 to avoid a conflict between the two films.

Weinstein company spokesman Matthew Frankel told The ShowBuzz that negotiations are ongoing.

"We have great respect for the Marley family and Chris Blackwell and are in discussions to look at ways to mutually benefit both projects," he said.

The first international reggae superstar, Bob Marley rose to fame in the 1970s as part of The Wailers with Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer. After the group broke up, he embarked on a solo career with his own band as Bob Marley and the Wailers.

His numerous hits include "I Shot The Sheriff," "Three Little Birds," "One Love" and "No Woman No Cry." One of the most influential and charismatic performers of the 20th century, Marley's brand of socially-conscious music continues to be heard today. He died of cancer in 1981 at the age of 36.

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