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P. 1
Ray Charles Found v Robinson

Ray Charles Found v Robinson

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Published by: propertyintangible on Apr 01, 2012
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10/26/2012

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1
2
3
4
9
C!)
1I
11
.Q
<
g-
12
-
-
13
ROBINS,
KAPLAN,
MILLER
&
CIRESI
L.L.P.
YakubHazzard(Bar
No.150242)
YHazzard@rkmc.com
RexD.Glensy(BarNo.
198909)
RDGlensy@rkmc.com
2049CenturyPark
East,
Suite3400
LosAngeles,CA90067-3208
Telephone:
310-552-0130
cs
Facsirmle:
310-229-5800
Attorneys
for
Plaintiff
THE
RAY
CHARLES
FOUNDATIONUNITEDSTATES
DISTRICT
COURTCENTRAL
DISTRICT
OF
CALIFORNIA
THE
RAY
CHARLES
(Js
O.
A
FOTJNDATION,
a
California
p
L
U
(
PTS(
(Thu
Corporation,
are.
Plaintiff,
COMPLAINTFOR:
v.
1
Declaratory
andInjunctive
Relief;
2
Breach
of
Contract;RAENEE
ROBINSON,
an
individual;
3
Breach
of
the
Inplied
Covenant
of
RAY
CHARLES
ROBINSON
JR.,an
GoodFaithandFair
Dealing.
individual;SHEILAROBINSON,
an
individual;DAVIDROBINSON
an
individual;
ROBERT
F.
ROBINON,
an
individual;REATHA
BUTLERS
an
individual;
and
ROBYN
MOFFETt
an
individual,Defendants.
Plaintiff
The
RayCharles
Foundation
(“Plaintiff’or
“The
Foundation”),
a
California
Non-Profit
Corporation,herebyallegesand
avers
based
on
knowledge
as
to
its
acts,
and
information
and
belief
as
to
the
acts
of
others,
as
follows:
NATURE
OF
THE
ACTION
1.
Thissuitseeks
to
avoid
theconsequences
of
actionsperpetrated
by
seven
adult
children
(collectively,
the
“Defendants”)
of
theworld-famous
and
renownedsinger-songwriter
RayCharlesRobinson,
p/k/a
RayCharles
(“Ray
60575062A
COMPLAINT
Case 2:12-cv-02725-ABC-FFM Document 1 Filed 03/29/12 Page 1 of 29 Page ID #:8
 
1
Charles”)who
passedaway
in
June
2004.
Less
than
two
years
prior
to
his
passing,
2
in
December
2002,Ray
Charlesgatheredmost
of
his
twelve
children
(five
of
the
3
sevendefendants
(two
werethen
incarcerated)
and
fiveotherswho
are
notpart
of
4
this
action)
inLos
Angeles,
California,
to
advise
them
of
what
he
intended
to
5
provide
to
each
of
them.
Specifically,
RayCharles
advised
his
children
that,
6
expressly
conditioned
upontheir
agreement
as
indicated
below,he
intended
to
fund
7
separateirrevocabletrustsfor
the
benefit
of
each
of
them
in
the
amount
of
$500,000
8
(and
hewould
take
care
of
all
the
associated
taxes),and
that
the
children
would
j
9
have
no
further
interests
in
his
estate.
In
express
consideration
for
said
trusts,
each
10
of
the
childrenwho
wereover
theage
of
eighteenatthetime
(including
all
of
the
11
sevendefendants
inthis
case)entered
into
a
written
agreementwhereby
each
12
acknowledged
and
agreed
that
thesaid$500,000
irrevocable
trust
would
bethe
13
entirety
of
theirinheritance
from
their
father,that
each
would
receivenofurther
14
inheritance
from
their
father,
and
that
each
relinquished
andwaived
any
further
15
claims
to
their
father’s
estate.
In
complete
disregard
of
the
confidence,
trust,and
16
belief
in
his
own
childrenthattheirfather
reposed
in
them,by
undertaking
the
17
actions
describedbelow
in
thisComplaint,
Defendantshavereneged
on
and
are
in
18
breach
or
otherviolation
of
this
agreement.
19
2.
To
betterexplain
the
import
of
Defendants’
improper
acts,
some
20
background
context
is
necessary.
The
CopyrightActpermits
authors
and
specified
21
parties
to
terminatecopyrighttransfers
and
recapturethose
interests
back
fromthe
22
originaltransferee
or
a
current
grantee
undercertain
narrowly
defined
23
circumstances.
The
stated
policy
behind
these
particular
provisions
of
the
24
Copyright
Act
is
to
givethe
original
transferor
of
the
copyright
the
opportunity
to
25
renegotiate
for
himself
a
better
deal
oncethe
copyrighted
assetsatissuehave
26
acquired
a
significantly
higher
market
valuethan
they
had
when
the
original
27
transfer
took
place.These
termination
of
transfer
provisions
of
the
Copyright
Act
28
do
not
apply
to
works
that
werecreated
as
works
made
forhire.
Purporting
to
act
60575062.1
-
2
-
COMPLAiNT
Case 2:12-cv-02725-ABC-FFM Document 1 Filed 03/29/12 Page 2 of 29 Page ID #:9
 
1
undertheseprovisions
of
the
Copyright
Act,
in
March
2010,
Defendants,each
of
2
whom
by
that
time
hadreceived
the
entirety
of
hisorher
$500,000
described
3
above,
servedcopyright
termination
of
transfernotices
on
thepublishers
of
4
approximately
fifty-oneindividualmusical
compositions
authored
in
whole
orin
5
part
by
Ray
Charles.Thenotices
suffer
fromvarious
defectsdiscussedbelow,
6
separateandapartfromconstituting
a
breach
of
the
Defendants’
said
agreements
7
with
their
father.
Shouldtheseimproper
noticesbe
allowed
to
effectuatethe
8
termination
of
the
underlying
copyrighttransfers,thecopyrights
in
these
musical
j
9
compositions,
along
with
some
of
the
income
derived
from
the
exploitation
of
these
10
compositionsin
theUnited
States,
wouldbe
recaptured
by
Ray
Charles’s
adult
0
ii
childrenon
a
staggered
basis
beginning
on
April
1,
2012,
and
continuinguntil
cJ
12
September
28,
2019,
dependingeither
on
the
date
the
songfirst
received
federal
13
copyrightprotection
or
onthe
date
the
grantwaseffectuated.
(A
chartlisting
the
Jj
14
songs
andthe
purported
effective
date
of
the
termination
of
transfer
for
each
is
15
attached
as
Exhibit
A).
This
result
is
contrary
to
copyright
law,
as
well
as
being
a
16
breach
of
Defendants’
saidagreementswiththeirfather.
17
3.
Themusicalcompositions
listed
on
Exhibit
Awere
originallywritten
18
and
composed
in
wholeor
inpart
by
Ray
Charles
pursuant
to
an
employment
19
relationshipwhile
he
was
under
an
exclusive
employment
recordingcontractwith
20
his
record
label.
As
part
of
thisemployment
relationship,
a
music
publishing
21
company
affiliatedwith
that
record
label
owned
themusicalcompositionsthat
Ray
22
Charleswrote.
This
publishing
company
registered
the
copyrights
at
issue
in
this
23
action
listing
itself
as
the
owner
of
these
musical
compositions.
24
4.
InSeptember
1980,
RayCharles
renegotiated
with
the
originalmusic
25
publishing
company’s
successors-in-interest
his
payment
terms
for
the
songsthat
26
are
at
issue
inthis
action.
RayCharles
received
further
consideration
in
return
for
27
this
renegotiation.
If
the
musical
compositions
at
issue
inthis
action
are
not
28
deemed
to
be
works
madeforhire
as
alleged
above,thenaccording
to
copyright
60575062.1
-
3
-
COMPLAINT
Case 2:12-cv-02725-ABC-FFM Document 1 Filed 03/29/12 Page 3 of 29 Page ID #:10

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