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Tuesday, May 28, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Sony Steps Into Sly Stone Royalty Fight

LOS ANGELES (CN) - Sony asked a judge to resolve a dispute about whether Sly Stone or his former manager's company is entitled to royalties from Sly and the Family Stone's music.

Sony/ATV Music Publishing filed a Superior Court complaint in interpleader against Stone, real name Sylvester Stewart, 70, and Even St. Productions of New York, owned by Stone's ex-manager Jerry Goldstein.

Sony administers royalties for Sly and the Family Stone's compositions, which are owned by Michael Jackson's estate. MIJAC Music.

Before its 2012 deal with Sony, MIJAC had a similar administration agreement with Warner/Chappell Music, according to the complaint.

The current dispute stems from Sly Stone's 2010 lawsuit , in which he claimed that Goldstein left him penniless by stealing $80 million in licensing fees, royalties and income.

Warner, named as a defendant in Stone's 2010 complaint, asked the court to allow it to deposit all royalties from Stone's music with the clerk of the court. The court granted that motion in September 2010, according to the new complaint.

Sony claims that Warner made 11 deposits for a total of $1.3 million.

After Sony became administrator, it deposited $97,593.83 with the court.

Sony says it has yet to deposit $87,891.40 in royalties for the third quarter of the fiscal year.

This year, Sly Stone and Even St. asserted rights to the royalties, the complaint states. Sony says now it is in a similar position to Warner and needs the court to decide the dispute.

"Sony/ATV cannot resolve the conflicting demands of Even St. and Stewart, and therefore is unable to determine which of the above adverse claimants, if any, is the true owner of the disputed royalties," the complaint states. "Sony/ATV is ready and willing to deliver the royalties to the person or entity who is legally entitled to receive them and brings this action to have the in a matter legally determined."

Even St. and the Goldstein-owned company Majoken filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Stone was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993. He was a pioneer in the soul, funk and psychedelic music of the '60s and '70s.

Sony is represented by Andrew Spitser with Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp.

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