Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Ah-weem-a-way lawsuit update

CNN has more on the recently filed lawsuit over "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" song (Ah-weem-a-way Ah-weem-a-way). The family of the woman who wrote the song appears to be relying on moral rights laws to claim that they still own the song despite the fact that the writer sold it.

The song, popularized in the long-running theater production and cartoon movie "The Lion King" was originally written in 1939 by Solomon Linda, a Zulu migrant worker turned songwriter.

The writer died penniless in 1962. Her family now lives in poverty in the infamous Soweto neighborhood in Johannesburg.

The song has been covered by at least 150 artists, including The Tokens, George Michael, Miriam Makeba and The Spinners. Linda's three surviving daughters and 10 grandchildren, living in poverty in the Johannesburg township of Soweto, have received only a one-time payment of $15,000.

When you consider the condition of the family, you sort of hope Disney will just take a small hit and settle. The suit is for $1.5 million, but I bet the family would take a whole lot less to settle, considering they are dirt poor. Soweto is not a place you'd want to go on vacation (if you wanted to relax anyway). Soweto is a neighborhood where poor black miners were forced to live during apartheid, it is still pretty rough.

The Trademark Blog has more.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bad precedent. While originality deserves some credit (I say this as a writer of 100% original material), the compelling argument is that nothing is original. Sadly, I hope they never got/get paid, and I hope someday I make a small pittance of what the people who benefit from my work make.

1/28/2013 4:09 AM  

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