Popstar Cher is suing the widow of her ex-husband for royalties for Sonny & Cher’s songs, including hits like “I Got You Babe” and “The Bear Goes On.”
Cher filed a $1 million lawsuit against Mary Bono, Sonny Bono’s and a trustee of the Bono Collection Trust, and other individuals, for breach of contract.
The pop icon alleges that Mary Bono has tried to terminate provisions in agreements made by Sony and Cher years ago that entitle each to 50% of the royalties.
This includes royalties on hit songs such as “I Got You Babe,” “The Beat Goes On,” “Baby Don’t Go,” “Little Man” and “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down).”
Cher alleges that Bono’s heirs used “a wholly inapplicable statutory termination provision of the Copyright Act of 1976″ to end her rights to the songs.
Under the Copyright Act of 1976, the author’s estate “may terminate the deceased author’s grant of a transfer or license of a renewal copyright or any right under it.”
Cher and Sonny agreed to divide their community property in a divorce settlement in 1978. According to Cher, Sonny’s heirs used this provision to terminate their agreement.
Mary Bono denies the accusations, stating that the Bono Collection Trust was within its rights to terminate Cher’s right to royalties.
“The Copyright Act allows Sonny’s widow and children to reclaim Sonny’s copyrights from publishers, which is what they did,” Mary Bono’s attorney, Daniel J. Schacht stated.
Sonny & Cher began performing together in 1964. They married in 1969 and divorced in 1975. Cher later started a solo career, creating hits like “If I Could Turn Back Time” and “Believe.”