‘Daydream Believer’ Royalty Claim Survives

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – A federal judge Monday declined to dismiss most claims in a lawsuit from a songwriter’s widow who says Screen Gems-EMI stiffed her on royalties to the song “Daydream Believer,” a 1967 hit by The Monkees.
     Stephanie Ford Stewart claims that the company took advantage of the contract’s “net receipts” arrangement, in which the publisher gives the songwriter a percentage of the revenue after deducting fees and costs. An “at source” arrangement would require the publisher to pay the songwriter before deductions.
     Her late husband, John Stewart, wrote the song.
     Stephanie Stewart claimed that Screen Gems-EMI deducted fees paid to foreign sub-publishers that are Screen Gems-EMI’s alter egos – so that EMI was effectively paying itself, deducting the payments and reducing the royalties paid to Stewart.
     She claims the publisher owes her $450,000.
     Also named as defendants are EMI and EMI North America.
     U.S. District Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley granted EMI and EMI North America’s motion to dismiss the claims against them, since they do not do business in California and are outside of the court’s jurisdiction.
     For the most part, Corley upheld Stewart’s claims against Screen Gems-EMI — she dismissed only Stewart’s claim that the publisher’s actions were fraudulent, because Stewart “has not alleged sufficient facts showing that the public is likely to be deceived by Screen Gems-EMI’s conduct.”
     Stewart is represented by Nicholas Carlin, with Phillips Erlewine in San Francisco.
     The defendants are represented by Darius Zolnor, with Pryor Cashman in Los Angeles.

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