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Thursday, 18 October, 2001, 10:52 GMT 11:52 UK
Crosby heirs sue over royalties
Bing Crosby
Bing Crosby: Died in 1977 aged 73
The heirs of legendary crooner Bing Crosby are to have a lawsuit heard accusing Universal Music Group of not paying the singer enough in royalties.

Crosby's family will seek $16m (11m) on behalf of the actor at a hearing on 5 November in California.

The lawsuit alleges that Crosby, who died in 1977 aged 73, negotiated a deal over royalties for his songs, which were mostly recorded on Decca Records from the 1930s to the 1960s.

Bing Crosby
Bing Crosby performed duets with Sinatra
Crosby's heirs say the singer struck a deal for royalties at 15% of the wholesale price on all songs recorded before 1949.


Royalties for songs made after that would be paid at 7% of the retail price, the lawsuit alleges.

Decca Records was later bought by MCA and Universal Music.

According to the lawsuit, which was filed in July 2000, an audit revealed Universal was paying 7% royalties on all Crosby recordings.

"The numbers are large,'' family attorney Mark Brodka said.

Universal Music declined to comment, adding that the company did not discuss pending litigation.

Together with Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby is one of the most memorable crooners of screen and stage.

Similar lawsuit

His golden era was in the late 1930s and 1940s and sang duets with Sinatra and later with David Bowie.

His song White Christmas is one of the all-time festive hits.

Brodka said the claims in the Crosby estate lawsuit were "remarkably similar"' to allegations singer Peggy Lee made in a lawsuit against Universal Music in 1999 for underpayment of royalties on a Decca contract.

Courtney Love
Courtney Love: Filed lawsuit challenging Universal Music

That lawsuit is still unresolved.

Singer and actress Courtney Love also recently filed lawsuits challenging royalty payments and seeking to nullify contracts with Universal Music.

One is on behalf of herself and the other is on behalf of the estate of her husband, Nirvana lead singer Kurt Cobain, who committed suicide in 1994.

See also:

08 Jul 99 | Asia-Pacific
Bing Crosby fights youth crime
25 Dec 98 | Christmas and New Year
Stars cash in at Christmas
16 May 98 | Sinatra
Frank Sinatra obituary
07 Sep 01 | Music
Courtney Love back in court
03 Oct 01 | Music
Love seeks control of Nirvana
19 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Singer Julie London dies
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