Eagles Cofounder Don Henley to Testify in Criminal Trial Over Allegedly Stolen ‘Hotel California’ Lyrics

The drummer says defendants Glenn Horowitz,  Craig Inciardi and Edward Kosinski were not programmed to receive the handwritten songs

Don Henley
Don Henley of The Eagles arrives at Manhattan Criminal Court (Photo by Adam Gray/Getty Images)

Don Henley is set to take the stand Monday in the New York criminal trial of three men who the the Eagles‘ singer and drummer says tried to sell handwritten lyrics they had allegedly stolen.

Rare-book dealer Glenn Horowitz, former Rock & Roll Hall of Fame curator Craig Inciardi and memorabilia specialist Edward Kosinski are accused of stealing roughly 100 handwritten pages of lyrics from the Eagles. The songs in question include the band’s massive multi-decade hit “Hotel California,” as well as “Life in the Fast Lane,” “New Kid in Town” and other titles from the “Hotel California” album.

All three have pleaded not guilty to conspiracy, criminally possessing stolen property and other charges.

Henley is a star witness at the trial for the prosecution. He’s expected to tell his version of how several pages that were instrumental to the band developing these hits made their way from his barn in Southern California to a New York auction house decades later.

In 2012, Henley noticed that some pages written by the Eagles started to appear in auction houses. The musician bought back four of the documents to the tune of $8,500 but filed a case concerning the rest of the allegedly stolen documents in 2022.

When Henley first filed the lawsuit, the papers were owned by Kosinski and Inciardi, who previously purchased them from Horowitz. The rare book dealer claims he originally purchased the notes from counterculture figure and the Fugs member Ed Sanders, who previously worked with the Eagles on a biography that was never published. For his part, Henley has testified that he never gave the biographer the lyrics.

Sanders isn’t charged in the case.

Henley has long been an advocate when it comes to artists owning their work. The musician founded the Recording Artists’ Coalition inn 2000 and testified to the U.S. Senate about musicians’ rights in both 2001 and 2003. He also testified before Congress in 2020 concerning the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). First enacted in 1998, the act criminalizes the production and dissemination of tech or services designed to bypass access to copyrighted work.


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