The latest salvo in the copyright lawsuit between the Ray Charles Foundation and seven of the late singer’s children finds the court ruling in favor of the children. The ruling allows them to reclaim copyrights on about 60 of Charles’ classic songs, including I Got a Woman, A Fool for You, Hallelujah I Love Her So and Mary Ann.
This represents a major financial loss to the charitable foundation to which the singer left all rights to his works. For his 12 children, Charles entered into an agreement in 2002, stipulating that each would receive an irrevocable trust for $500,000 and waive the right to make any further claims against his estate.
Following the singer’s death in 2004, seven of the 12 – represented by attorney Marc Toberoff – filed notices to terminate a copyright grant of the songs to Warner-Chappell Music in 2010.
While Warner-Chappell didn’t challenge the notices, the foundation sued the children in March 2012, claiming the termination notices were invalid and that the songs were works made for hire. Then in October 2012, the foundation changed positions and argued the songs weren’t made for hire.
A revision of the Copyright Act in 1976 gives authors the ability to reclaim their works assigned to publishers or other grantees after 35 years. Works made-for-hire, however, cannot be reclaimed.
Read more: Billboard