Cher Claims Mary Bono Is Trying to Seize Her Song Royalties
(Bloomberg) -- Cher sued her late husband Sonny Bono’s fourth wife Mary, claiming she’s seeking to seize all royalties on the musical duo’s songs, including “I Got You Babe” and “The Beat Goes On.”
Mary Bono is using a section of the copyright act that allows a deceased author’s heirs to terminate a grant of a transfer or rights executed before 1978, according according to Cher’s complaint filed in Los Angeles federal court Thursday.
Cher received a notice of the termination of payments in September, according to the complaint. The Oscar and Grammy Award winning performer is seeking a judge’s order affirming her right to the royalties and more than $1 million for breach of contract.
Sonny and Cher began performing together in 1964 and were married in 1967. After hosting a popular television show, the two split up in 1974 and their marriage was dissolved a year later. Cher, 75, went on with a solo career in music and the movies, winning an Oscar for best actress in 1998 for “Moonstruck”. Sonny was elected to the House of Representatives and was killed in a skiing accident in 1998.
Sonny and Cher agreed in 1978 to split their community property 50-50, including receipts from record companies under contracts they had prior to their separation, Cher said in the complaint. Following Sonny’s death, his half of the receipts were to be shared by his heirs, including Mary Bono.
Sonny Bono’s heirs transferred their rights to receive the royalties to the Bono Collection Trust, of which Mary Bono is the sole trustee, according to the complaint.
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