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Famous Music was the worldwide music publishing division of Paramount Pictures, a division of Viacom since 1994. Its copyright holdings span several decades and includes music from such Academy Award-winning motion pictures as The Godfather and Forrest Gump. It was founded in 1928 by Paramount’s predecessor, the Famous-Lasky Corporation, to publish music from its "talking pictures." Some of the classic songs in the Famous Music catalog that originated in motion pictures included "Moon River," "Thanks for the Memory," "Silver Bells," "Mona Lisa," "Where do I Begin?" (the theme from "Love Story"), "Speak Softy Love" (the theme from "The Godfather"), "Up Where We Belong," "Footloose," "Take My Breath Away" and "My Heart Will Go On."

Famous Music additionally owned music and songs from television programs produced by Paramount until ownership of most of those songs was transferred to CBS in 2006 as part of Viacom's split into two separate companies — CBS and "new" Viacom. These included such classics as "The Theme from Mission: Impossible" (ownership remained with Paramount), the "Theme from Star Trek" and "Where Everybody Knows Your Name" (the theme from "Cheers").

Famous Music also provided licensing and administration services for many prominent music catalog owners such as CBS Television, The Clyde Otis Music Catalogs, as well as for other Viacom divisions including MTV, Nickelodeon and BET.

For a number of years, Famous Music also had a record label group division. The labels, including Neighborhood Records, Blue Thumb Records, Dot Records and Paramount Records, were acquired by ABC Records in 1974. Famous/ABC had a distribution deal with Sire Records. The catalogues of the Famous Music labels are now owned by Universal Music Group.

Starting mostly in the late 80s and continuing until the company was sold in 2007 (see below), Famous Music was very active in acquiring songs that did not originate in Paramount motion pictures or television programs. These included the purchase of many works from the Duke Ellington catalog, as well as acquisition or administration agreements with recording artists and producers like Shakira, Eminem, Akon, Boyz II Men, Bjork, Gavin Rossdale, Jet, Linda Perry, Kike Santander, Irv Gotti, Placebo, Modest Mouse and POD.

In May 2007, Viacom sold Famous Music to Sony-ATV Music Publishing co owned by Sony and Michael Jackson for a reported $370m.[1]





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