Sugar Man Lawsuit Focuses on Missing Royalties

The story of Sixto Rodriguez, popularized in the documentary "Searching for Sugar Man", highlights what is frequently an issue for recording artists and songwriters: payment of royalties. Sometimes it's poor accounting by labels or publishers, sometimes malfeasance, and sometimes artists don't know who owns the rights to their music because the copyrights have changed hands so many times. Maintaining copies of contracts and records of payment are key to sorting out and resolving royalty underpayment! - - - -

The documentary “Searching for Sugar Man” tells the story of Rodriguez, an obscure singer-songwriter from Detroit whose albums were commercial flops when released in the early 1970s, but — unknown to Rodriguez and everyone around him — later became gigantic hits in South Africa.

One of the most intriguing questions raised by the film, which was released in 2012 and won an Academy Award, was why the singer never received the proper royalties for an estimated half-million album sales in South Africa.

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