Bob Dylan sued by wife of late collaborator Jacques Levy after catalogue sale to Universal

The estate of the late Levy, who collaborated with Dylan on his 1976 album 'Desire', are seeking $7.25 million (£5.25 million)

Bob Dylan is being sued by the wife of his late collaborator Jacques Levy after Levy’s estate alleged that they had not been sufficiently compensated for his songwriting credits.

Dylan sold the rights to his entire songwriting catalogue to Universal Music Group for $300 million (£225 million) last month. However, according to court documents obtained by the New York Post, Levy’s wife Claudia is now suing both Dylan and Universal for $7.25 million (£5.25 million) after the estate was allegedly not compensated for their songwriting contribution to Dylan’s catalogue.

Jacques was a prominent collaborator on Dylan’s 1976 album ‘Desire’, with the late songwriter being credited on most of the album’s tracks. The album topped the Billboard Pop Albums chart for five weeks.


According to documents submitted in Manhattan Supreme Court by the plaintiffs, the Levy estate claims it is entitled to 35% “of any and all income earned by the compositions” including “35% of the purchase price paid to the Dylan defendants”.

“The Dylan defendants have engaged in a civilly wrong pattern and history of intentionally and maliciously ignoring and disregarding plaintiff’s rights, including those to income and any and all revenue generated by the compositions, including the subject buy-out of the catalogue sale,” the suit claims.

In a statement provided to Pitchfork, Dylan’s lawyer Orin Snyder denied the claims made by the Levy estate and described the suit as “a sad attempt to unfairly profit off of the recent catalogue sale”.

“The plaintiffs have been paid everything they are owed. We are confident that we will prevail. And when we do, we will hold plaintiffs and their counsel responsible for bringing this meritless case,” he said.


Levy passed away in September 2004 having worked as a songwriter, theatre director and clinical psychologist during his lifetime.

In reaching an agreement with Universal, Dylan joined a handful of other high-profile names, such as Neil Young, Lindsey Buckingham and Blondie, in recently selling their catalogues to publishers.