New lawsuit to look into ‘Searching For Sugar Man’ star Rodriguez’s missing royalties

The folk singer released two 1970s albums which became best-sellers without his knowledge

A new lawsuit is set to look into Searching For Sugar Man star Rodriguez‘s missing royalties.

The protest singer, whose story was told in the Oscar-winning film Searching For Sugar Man, is not a party to the suit, which sees Gomba Music and former producer Harry Balk, suing another producer, Clarence Avant, for withholding royalties, reports The Guardian. Despite selling a large amount of his two albums 1970’s ‘Cold Fact’ and 1971’s ‘Coming from Reality’ overseas, the singer did not make any money.

Balk claims that he signed Rodriguez for a five-year deal in 1966 and is accusing Avant of trying to get around the deal by saying tracks written in that period by Rodriguez were written by other artists. He is seeking unspecified damages “citing copyright infringement, fraud and tortious interference, or intentional interference with contracts.”


Avant has commented over the case to the Detroit Free Press, saying: “I think I’ve really been painted as the bad guy… It really bugs me that I have to go through this, when I’m the one guy who believed in [Rodriguez]. I wish him nothing but the best, because I think he deserves it.”

Last year it was reported that Rodriguez was preparing to release his long-awaited third album. Speaking to Rolling Stone, the now 71-year-old said he was looking to record with a couple of producers including Steve Rowland. “He told me to send him a couple of tapes, so I’m gonna do that,” Rodriguez said. “I certainly want to look him up, because now he’s full of ideas.”

He added: “I’ve written about 30 songs, and that’s pretty much what the public has heard. Musicians want to be heard. So I’m not hiding. But I do like to leave it there onstage and be myself, in that sense. Because some people carry it with them.” Rodriguez also confirmed that he may work with Irish producer David Holmes on his new songs.