April 1, 2012 10:01

Ray Charles Foundation sues singer's children

Foundation files lawsuit over copyright claims

Ray Charles Foundation sues singer's children

Photo: Pa Photos

The Ray Charles Foundation is suing the late singer's children for attempting to gain copyright control of some Ray Charles' songs.

Seven of the singer's 12 children are being sued by the foundation for allegedly trying to improperly obtain the copyright on a dozen of his songs, reports The Wrap.

According to the lawsuit, in 2002, Charles gave each of his children $500,000 under the condition that they would not seek further inheritance claims on his musical estate.

The Ray Charles Foundation, which provides funding to youth programs and research into hearing impairment, is currently the sole beneficiary of Charles' estate.

According to the lawsuit, Ray Charles' children applied in March 2010 to regain the copyrights of the songs under the 1976 Copyright Act, which allows artists to regain royalties after a certain number of years if their value has increased.

The foundation claims that because Charles awarded each of his children $500,000, prior to his death in 2004, they have agreed to not seek any financial portion of their father's estate. They also said the "termination of transfer" rule does not apply, as Charles had renegotiated his royalty rates with his publishers in 1980.

The plaintiffs are asking the court to prevent the termination of transfers, the first of which goes through today (April 1), and to prevent the seven defendants from entering any business dealings with Charles' songs. They also ask for the $500,000 from each of his children, along with legal costs.

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