Bob Dylan is fighting back against a civil suit. The legendary musician was sued by the widow of one of his collaborators over claims that she should be entitled to a share of proceeds from Dylan’s recent sale of his entire song catalog. The Tambourine Man is trying to get the law suit tossed.
Last December Robert Zimmerman, AKA Bob Dylan, sold his entire song catalog to Universal Music Publishing Group for $300 million. Then a month later Dylan was sued for royalties from his music catalog by Claudia Levy, widow of Jacques Levy, who co-wrote some of Bob Dylan’s songs. She is also suing Universal Music Group which acquired the songs in question along with all of Bod Dylan’s music.
The lawsuit was filed Wednesday, January 20, in New York Supreme Court. Claudia Levy is seeking $7.25 million in compensation. Her lawyer Richard Golub said that Bob Dylan should pay Jacques Levy’s family 35% of income from the nine songs which Levy co-wrote for Dylan. These include Hurricane, Isis, Mozambique, Oh, Sister, Joey, Romance in Durango and Black Diamond Bay. He claims that Dylan’s associates had “refused to remit to [Levy’s family] their rightful share of the revenue and/or income earned from the catalog sale with respect to the compositions.”
Levy claims that her husband made a deal with Dylan in 1975 that gave him 35% “of any and all income earned by the compositions.”
At the time Bob Dylan’s lawyer Orin Snyder stated that, “This lawsuit is a sad attempt to unfairly profit off of the recent catalog sale. The plaintiffs have been paid everything they are owed. We are confident that we will prevail. And when we do, we will hold the plaintiffs and their counsel responsible for bringing this meritless case.”
Now the Hollywood Reporter has revealed a memo which was filed by Dylan’s ;lawyers claiming that the songs in question were written under a “work-for-hire” agreement which gave Levy royalties, but did not entitle him to a share of the copyrights.
“This lawsuit is an opportunistic attempt to rewrite a 45-year-old contract to obtain a windfall payment that the contract does not allow,” the memo states. “The complaint should be dismissed with prejudice.”
The memo also points out that Jacques Levy’s estate is still entitled to royalty payments from future uses of the songs. According to Bob Dylan’s lawyers the singer, “made sure that Plaintiffs’ right to compensation from future uses of the songs was preserved.”
The mem0 describes the Levy suit as an “impermissible double-dip.”