Heirs of Duke Ellington Estate Seek 50 Percent Compensation of Late-Jazz Composer's Foreign Sales, Sources Say

By Ian Holubiak on Sep 12, 2014 08:16 PM EDT

The highest court in the New York area (where's Monty Python when you need it?) is gearing up to hear arguments posted by heirs to jazz legend Duke Ellington in a recent lawsuit with EMI. The suit is to regain half the royalties of Ellingtons foreign sales, which EMI has claimed authenticity to.

The suit comes from an earlier 2010 case. It alleges breach of the 1961 standard songwriter royalty contract the late jazz composer signed with Mills Music, according to Billboard.

Mills Music is the predecessor of EMI. And the contract calls for an even split in revenue, and the Ellington estate is ensuring they reclaim their property.

Heirs say that EMI should quit deducting 50 percent on commission to foreign publishers.

However, a judge dismissed the suit saying that the law only held ground to existing Mills affiliates.

A shame for the estate, similar strife was found with the Robert Johnson estate, whose heirs were finally able to reclaim rights over the two iconic images of the late-blues guitarist.

The Court of Appeals is expected to present a ruling next month.

One can only hope the right estate is given to the proper heirs. But until then, here's Ellington to keep you calm.

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TagsDuke Ellington, Robert Johnson, Billboard, EMI, Mills Music, The Court of Appeals, New York High Court

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