George Gershwin's heirs recently sued Warner Music, alleging "numerous areas of underpayment, non-payment and non-compliance" from the media giant.
The complaint, filed January 11 in Manhattan, accuses Warner Music of renting Gershwin's works outside the United States without registering copyrights in time.
"Warner Music is contractually required to hand over all net income, which is defined as gross receipts minus a 15 percent administration fee," according to the Hollywood Reporter. The heirs, including a niece and nephew of Gershwin, allege that Warner Music's records reveal significant non-payments or underpayments in royalties that go back as early as 2001.
Gershwin’s heirs are seeking at least $5 million in damages for breach of contract, at least $5 million in compensatory damages and another $5 million in punitive damages for breach of fiduciary duty. Read the complaint in full here.
Gershwin, the composer behind works like "Rhapsody in Blue" and "Porgy and Bess," passed away from a brain tumor at only 38 years old. The author John O'Hara wrote at the time, "George Gershwin died July 11, 1937, but I don't have to believe it if I don't want to."