According to Variety, a New York appeals court rejected the lawsuit which claims that Bob Dylan is in debt to the estate of one-time collaborator, Jacques Levy, for a portion of his catalog sale. Dylan sold the catalog to Universal Music Publishing Group in December 2020 for nearly $400 million.
However, Jacques Levy’s widow, Claudia Levy, claims that the Levy’s estate deserves a $7.25 million share of the deal. This is under an agreement that dates back to 1975. Levy contributed as a co-writer of “Hurricane” and nine other singles on the 1976 album, “Desire.”
In August 2021, a judge ruled that Bob Dylan signed away his co-ownership rights under an employee-for-hire situation. This had granted complete ownership to the music icon. But Levy’s widow asked the courts to overturn the ruling. She argues that the ruling was “the ultimate attempt to rewrite Levy out of Dylan’s history.”
In response to the overturn request, Bob Dylan’s attorneys also described the case as an “opportunistic attempt” at an “unjustified windfall.”
New York’s Appellate Division Affirms Judge’s Original Ruling in Bob Dylan Lawsuit
Variety also reveals that on Tuesday (April 6th), New York’s Appellate Division affirmed the judge’s original ruling in the Bob Dylan Lawsuit. “The parties’ agreement is unambiguous. And does not entitle plaintiffs to proceeds from the sale of the copyrights of the composition co-written with Dylan.”
The New York court further shares that nothing submitted by plaintiffs concerning music industry custom and practice supports a reading otherwise. “Or even suggests an ambiguity in the relevant contractual language.”
Bob Dylan’s attorney, Orin Snyders, also spoke about the latest lawsuit ruling. “Today’s decision puts the nail in the coffin of this opportunistic lawsuit. We are pleased the court has again rejected this sad attempt to profit off of Bob’s recent catalog sale.”
Meanwhile, Levy’s widow does have the option to appeal the cause a final time to New York’s highest appellate court, the Court of Appeals. However, this is an uncommon occurrence. Dylan has not personally made a statement about the lawsuit.
Chief Executive of Universal Music Group, Lucian Grainge, previously spoke about the sale of Bob Dylan’s catalog. “It’s no secret that the art of songwriting is the fundamental key to all great music. Nor is it a secret that Bob is one of the very greatest practitioners of that art.”
Jody Gerson, Chief Executive of Universal’s publishing division went on to add, “To represent the body of work of one of the great songwriters of all time whose cultural importance can’t be overstated is both a privilege and responsibility.