Sly Stone awarded $5m pay out for missed royalties

FUNK pioneer Sly Stone has been awarded $5 million (£3.2 million) in a suit against his former manager and lawyer for missed royalties.

Stone, whose real name is Sylvester Stewart, led the group Sly and the Family Stone to a string of hits in the 1960s and early 1970s including Everyday People, Dance To The Music and Family Affair.

The 71-year-old's lawyers claimed Stone was left destitute when his former manager Gerald Goldstein and lawyer Glenn Stone convinced him to become an employee of and co-owner of Even St Productions with them in 1989.

Stone assigned royalty rights to the company and was supposed to receive some of the money it collected for him, his lawyer said.

Stone testified that he had not received any royalty payments between 1989 and 2000.

The singer first brought action against the pair in 2010, but jurors ruled against his favour. Reports then emerged in 2011 that Stone had been struggling with drug abuse and was living in a camper van in Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles Supreme court announced its verdict on Tuesday following two days of deliberations. Mr Hornberger said it was a good day for his client and all entertainers.

"This was an important verdict for people that are artists, entertainers, music composers," he said after the hearing.

Jurors awarded $2.5m (£1.64m) in damages against Even St Productions, $2.45m (£1.61m) against Goldstein and $50,000 against Glenn Stone.

Gregory Bodell, representing Mr Goldstein and Mr Stone, said the performer approached his clients to revitalise his career and promised to make comeback records that he never recorded.

His clients were not seeking the performer's royalties because he did not have any, in part because he owed millions to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Mr Bodell said.

But Mr Bodell said his clients helped to pay off the IRS, renegotiated royalty issues with record companies and over 20 years obtained millions of dollars in royalties for the performer - perhaps as much as $9m (£5.9m).

Topics:  royalties

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