Sony ATV Accused of Fraudulently Pocketing Millions of Dollars of Lady Marmalade Songwriter Royalties

Share Article

Lady Marmalade songwriter sues Sony/ATV reclaiming ownership of hit song catalogue and collecting unpaid royalties.

Kenny Nolan

John Mason and I successfully represented Brian Wilson in asserting his publishing rights to all of the Beach Boys’ iconic hits back in the 1990s; the allegations in this suit are equally pervasive. Songwriters have rights, and we will set this right.

Kenny Nolan, writer of iconic hit songs including three‐time chart topper Lady Marmalade, this week sued music publisher Sony/ATV asserting ownership of dozens of hit songs. The lawsuit, filed by attorneys John Mason and J.J. Little in federal district court in Los Angeles, also alleges Sony/ATV systematically pocketed writer’s royalties owed to Mr. Nolan.

Kenny Nolan v. Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, et. al., U.S. District Court for the Central District of California (2:16‐cv‐06829), Filed September 12, 2016.

“I poured my heart and soul into these songs,” said Nolan, “and I expected, like all songwriters, that my publishing partner would respect my rights and keep its promises.”    

At issue in the lawsuit are more than seventy hit songs composed by Nolan with a songwriting partner in the 1970s. The writers licensed those songs to a publishing house, but for only the first of the two terms of copyright protection allowed to them under the law. That license was eventually resold to EMI and its parent Sony/ATV. Kenny Nolan’s lawsuit claims ownership of the second term of copyright – known as the renewal term – in these valuable hit songs, now that the first term has expired. Also at issue are unpaid royalties on a lucrative catalogue of songs composed by Kenny Nolan and administered by Sony/ATV. The lawsuit alleges Sony/ATV engaged in a longstanding pattern of misconduct and fraudulently misdirected writer royalties.

The lawsuit’s alleges "systematic misconduct" by Sony/ATV according to J.J. Little, one of Nolan’s lawyers.

“John Mason and I successfully represented Brian Wilson in asserting his publishing rights to all of the Beach Boys’ iconic hits back in the 1990s; the allegations in this suit are equally pervasive. Songwriters have rights, and we will set this right.”

Ownership of the second, or renewal, term of copyright in hit songs is now a pressing issue for the music industry as the initial 28‐year term of copyright in the iconic hits of the 70s and 80s has now begun to expire.

“Far too often big companies ignore the rights of composers, hoping no one is looking,” said John Mason, a nationally recognized expert in the music industry and Little’s co‐counsel. “Every songwriter in America should be vigilant and confirm they are getting what they are due.”

Kenny Nolan v. Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, et. al., U.S. District Court for the Central District of California (2:16‐cv‐06829), Filed September 12, 2016.

For Media Inquiries or if you are a songwriter that has related information contact:
J.J. Little Phone: (310) 622‐9527 Email: J.J.(at)Littlelaw(dot)com http://www.jjlittleandassociates.com/
John Mason Phone: (615) 259‐5325 Email: John(at)Mason(dot)Legal http://www.johnmasonlaw.com

About John Mason: John Mason is a preeminent national leader in the field of intellectual property and entertainment law. John has represented Academy Award and Oscar winners in movie projects and television series. He has built a world‐renowned practice in music, representing recording artists whose sales exceed 100,000,000 units. He has served as Chairman of the Nevada Film Commission and was appointed in 2000 by President George W. Bush to the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities. John has been named “Entertainment Lawyer of the Year” by Billboard Magazine and has been the recipient of the pre‐eminent and coveted A/V national attorney rating in the Martindale Hubbell Law Directory for more than 30 years.

About J.J. Little: J.J. Little is a veteran litigator with experience in multiple state and federal courts at both the trial and appellate level. J.J. has represented a broad array of interests in the music and film industries, including such A‐list clients as Brian Wilson, Gloria Estefan, Larry King, Geffen Records and Republic Pictures.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

JJ Little
Visit website