Seven of Ray Charles’ children are in a legal tangle with the foundation established by their father. The case is focused on 51 songs co-written by the late artist, including “I got a Woman” and “A Fool for You,” and their copyright ownership. The seven children are accused of sending copyright termination notices to music publishers, claiming that they themselves owned the songs. Oppositely, Charles’ foundation claims to have the intellectual property rights to the songs.
Prior to the debacle, the Foundation had all 12 of Charles’ kids sign agreements relinquishing and waiving all rights and claims to Charles’ remaining estate in exchange for $500,000 trusts. In response to the four daughters and three sons listed in the lawsuit, the Foundation is pressing for $500,000 in damages and legal barring from pursuing any more copyright claims.
The Charles children are attempting to exploit a provision in the 1976 copyright law in order to renegotiate the copyrights on the songs. The defendant in the case is Marc Toberoff, who is also the lawyer representing the estate of Jerry Siegel, the co-creator of Superman. Siegel is currently in a dispute with Warner Brothers over who has control of the superhero.
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