Cher has filed a lawsuit against Mary Bono, the widow of her ex-husband/music partner Sonny Bono, over back royalties related to Sonny & Cher recordings.
Per Rolling Stone, Cher claims in the lawsuit filed this week in Los Angeles district court that “…Bono’s heirs have ceased paying her royalties on Sonny & Cher’s music, even though — as part of Cher and Bono’s 1978 divorce agreement — the singer was entitled to a 50% stake of their music.”
Cher is also accusing Mary Bono of trying to terminate the divorce agreement by citing the Copyright Act of 1976.
Rolling Stone notes, “Under the Copyright Act of 1976, an author’s estate ‘may terminate the deceased author’s grant of a transfer or license of a renewal copyright or any right under it.’ The Bono Collection Trust interpreted that language as a means to terminate the 1978 divorce agreement between Bono and Cher, according to the lawsuit.” (Sonny Bono died in a skiing accident in 1998.)
Daniel J. Schacht, Mary Bono’s attorney, told the Los Angeles Times in a statement, “The Copyright Act allows Sonny’s widow and children to reclaim Sonny’s copyrights from publishers, which is what they did…Bono remains open to continuing a private discussion about this, but we are confident that, if necessary, the court will affirm their position.”
Cher’s lawsuit is seeking “estimated royalties that the Bono heirs have withheld” in the amount of $1 million.