Decades after the fact, a famous musician is finding that he may not own rights to his songs — and a federal court in Michigan has just ruled that a legal effort to sort out who does will be more complex than the parties may have first believed. This latest court rumba rang out with the release of the 2012 Oscar-winning documentary Searching for Sugar Man. The documentary featured Sixto Rodriguez’s music and career and the curious twist as to how the Michigan-born songwriter saw his flicker of fame wane before he became a huge star in South Africa late in his life. But the movie also led to a reexamination of ownership of the rights to some of Rodriguez’s tunes — and, oh, the music got complicated then. Harry Balk, who composed the songs with Rodriguez, had believed the musical rights were covered in an exclusive song-writing agreement between Rodriguez and Balk’s company, Gomba Music. On behalf of Gomba Music Inc., Balk sued Clarence Avant, a Motown big, and Interior Music Corp. in federal court in Detroit for copyright infringement, fraudulent concealment, tortious interference with copyright and fraud. Interior sued against Rodriguez alleging that he had entered into a deal with it in the 1970’s and that he had represented that he owned all rights free and clear to the songs. The suit continued, as Balk believed he had been defrauded; it was only with the release of Searching that this was realized. In late November, the federal court in Detroit ruled that all the parties had a lot to sort out with their litigation for it all to proceed.
‘Sugar Man’ search now a music rights battle
Warning: count(): Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable in /home/customer/www/biedermanblog.com/public_html/wp-content/themes/Extra/includes/template-tags.php on line 54