The late Ray Charles could set a concert house afire all by himself, just by sitting down and putting hands on the keys of an upright piano to bob, weave, and belt out a terrific tune. When it comes to straightening out the finances of his musical legacy, however, there soon may be enough attorneys in the court to fill the seats of a symphony orchestra.
Or so it may seem after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently granted standing to The Ray Charles Foundation in a lawsuit brought by Charles’ heirs over copyright termination rights. A passel of Charles children already were tussling with a major music publisher over copyrights. So the lawyers involved will need to pull up even more chairs to confer now that the foundation’s part of the party.
While Charles composed some of the best music ever to grace the rhythm and blues charts, he lived a life of great complexity and it all has turned into some elaborate legal counterpoint that now returns for a coda for a U.S. federal court to play through. Let’s plunk through some of the disharmony in this noteworthy case … (more…)