Wife of Bob Dylan collaborator loses lawsuit over music catalogue

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Dylan sold the music to Universal Music Group last December.

Bob Dylan just handed the widow of one of his collaborators some “Money Blues.”

The legendary crooner had been sued in Manhattan Supreme Court by Claudia Levy, the wife of late songwriter Jacques Levy who sought a portion of the $300 million Dylan received when he sold his song catalogue.

Jacques, who died in 2004, co-wrote seven of the nine songs on Dylan’s 1976 album “Desire,” and his widow claimed in her $7.25 million lawsuit that her husband’s estate was owed 35 percent “of the purchase price” Dylan got from buyer Universal Music Group for the seven songs.

But lawyers for the “Blowin’ in the Wind” singer argued that under the 1975 contract Dylan and Jacques signed, the estate was only entitled to 35 percent in royalties — not an additional 35 percent cut of the sale of the songs to Universal in 2020.

Judge Barry Ostrager sided with Dylan’s camp and tossed out Levy’s suit in a ruling Friday.

Dylan sold the music to Universal Music Group last December.
Kevin Mazur/WireImage
Album Cover -- Bob Dylan -- Desire
Jacques Levy co-wrote seven songs on Bob Dylan’s 1976 album “Desire.”
Bob Dylan

“The 1975 agreement vested in Dylan complete ownership and control of the copyrights to the compositions and limited Levy’s rights to 35% of the specified compensation, which consisted primarily of licensing royalties and in no way can be construed to include a portion of Dylan’s sale of his own copyrights and royalty rights,” Ostrager wrote in his decision.

The royalties paid out to Levy’s estate have totaled roughly $1 million to date, according to the ruling.

“We’re pleased with today’s decision,” Dylan’s lawyer, Orin Snyder, said in a statement Friday. “As we said when the case was filed, this lawsuit was a sad attempt to profit off the recent catalog sale. We’re glad it’s now over.”

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Aaron Richard Golub, a lawyer for the Levy estate, told The Post by phone, “We think we have a strong case, and we plan to appeal.”

Claudia Levy attends the "Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story By Martin Scorsese" New York screening at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center on June 10, 2019
Jacques Levy’s widow Claudia had sought 35 percent of the money from Dylan’s sale.
Jim Spellman/Getty Images

Jacques and Dylan co-wrote songs including “Romance in Durango,” “Hurricane,” “Catfish,” “Joey,” “Money Blues,” “Rita Mae,” “Mozambique,” “Oh Sister,” “Black Diamond Bay, a Bedtime Story” and “Isis.”

The album “Desire” topped the Billboard Pop Album chart for five weeks, went double platinum and was ranked 174th on Rolling Stone Magazine’s “500 Greatest Albums of All Time,” the suit noted.



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