George Jones’ Children File Lawsuit Over Copyright Interests of Country Legend Father’s Music Catalog

by Jennifer Shea
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Country music icon George Jones left behind a broad catalog of music. 

Now two of his seven children are suing in Tennessee. They’re trying to lay claim to what they say is their rightful copyright ownership in particular, WZTV reports. 

George Jones’ Eldest Children Allegedly Got Shafted

Bryan and Jeffery Jones are the sons of George Jones and Shirley Ann Corley. Their parents married in 1954 and divorced in 1968. According to WZTV, under the terms of the divorce, Corley got half the rights to all the songs that Jones wrote and Broadcast Music International published. Corley died in 1991. She passed those rights on to her sons.

The sons’ attorney, Ramona DeSalvo, argues that after the original publishing company was sold, multiple companies acquired the musical catalogs and have since been paying the sons incorrectly.

“There appears have been some monkey business going on in the past with copyright interest and accountings for the compositions,” DeSalvo told WZTV. “We’re seeking to clarify which copyrights they own. We’re also asking the court to declare rights of the parties instead of fighting over every penny.”

The lawsuit also argues that the sons have an interest in eight master recordings that Jones recorded in Sumner County in 1966, while he and Corley were still married. The sons learned of the recordings for the first time this year.

DeSalvo is arguing that the sons should get a prorated share of royalties and fees from the commercial use of those master recordings, WZTV reports. 

Partying Too Hard

George Jones had a history of financial instability, much of it due to his drinking habits and drug use. According to Wide Open Country, he flushed $1,200 down the toilet one night while partying in Houston. 

Jones, whose nickname was “Possum,” died in Nashville in 2013 at the age of 81.

A copy of the full lawsuit is available here.

Outsider.com