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Multi-Million Suit Over Bob Dylan Music Catalog Gets Tossed

Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan no longer needs to worry about a $7.5 million lawsuit over royalties from his song catalog. Claudia Levy, the widow of Jacques Levy, who co-wrote some of Bob Dylan’s songs, brought the lawsuit. She also sued Universal Music Group which acquired the songs in question along with all of Bod Dylan’s music. An appeals court on Tuesday upheld an earlier ruling made by a Manhattan court that trussed the suit.

The original ruling said that the contract that the plaintiff claimed was made with Bod Dylan for future revenues was “unambiguous, and does not entitle plaintiffs to proceeds from the sale of the copyrights of the compositions co-written with Dylan.”

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“Today’s decision puts the nail in the coffin of this opportunistic lawsuit,” Dylan’s lawyer, Orin Snyder, said in a statement. “We are pleased the court has again rejected this sad attempt to profit off of Bob’s recent catalog sale.”

The lawsuit was filed in January 2021 in New York Supreme Court. Claudia Levy sought $7.25 million in compensation. Her lawyer Richard Golub said that Bob Dylan should pay Jacques Levy’s family 35% of the 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 claimed at the time 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 claimed that her husband made a deal with Bob Dylan in 1975 that gave him 35% “of any and all income earned by the compositions.” According to the suit, “The Agreement’s terms make clear that the Agreement is highly atypical of a work-for-hire agreement, bestowing on Plaintiffs considerable significant material rights and material benefits that are not customarily granted to employees-for-hire and that the label work-for-hire is, in this instance, a misnomer.”

Robert Zimmerman, AKA Bob Dylan, sold his entire song catalog to Universal Music Publishing Group in December 2020. The amount of the sale was not revealed.

Some speculated at the time that the Bob Dylan song catalog could be worth as much as $300 million. It also includes songs written by Bob Dylan for which he owns copyrights but performed by other groups like “The Weight” made famous by The Band.



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