(CN) – The singers of “My Boyfriend’s Back” and other songs by The Angels might be able to collect royalties after more than four decades, a New York appellate division ruled.
Phyllis Sirico, formerly known as Phyllis “Jiggs” Allbut, was a member of The Angels who recorded songs in the 1960s with FGG Productions. Sirico sang in the group with her sister, Barbara “Bibs” Allbut, and lead singer Linda Jansen.
Sirico and Peggy Davidson, who replaced Jansen as The Angels’ lead singer, sued FGG in 2005 for royalties from record sales and licensing over the past 40 years. Davidson also claimed that FGG exploited her image, voice and name without her consent.
FGG argued that The Angels had forfeited their royalties by recording songs with another record company.
The trial court dismissed The Angels’ claims, but the 1st Appellate Division in Manhattan ruled that Sirico and Davidson could bring two of their claims to trial.
“While the statute of limitations bars much of Sirico’s breach of contract cause of action, her claim for royalties, if any, earned during the six years before this action was commenced, is viable at this preliminary stage, as it accrued each time FGG allegedly breached its recurring obligation,” the justices wrote.
The justices also ruled that Davidson’s civil rights claim for invasion of privacy could survive.
“[T]he statute prohibits the use of a person’s ‘name, portrait, picture, or voice’ for advertising or trade purposes without written consent, and it is undisputed that Davidson had no written contract of any kind with FGG,” the court ruled.
In deciding Davidson’s claim, the justices cited the 2001 case of Michael Costanza vs. Jerry Seinfeld, in which Costanza claimed that the TV character of George Costanza was based on him. Seinfeld won.