General News

Copyright infringement suit against KC & the Sunshine Band allowed to proceed

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Jan 28, 2014 | 10:37am EST

The son of former Kc & The Sunshine Band member Ronnie Smith has been granted permission to proceed with a copyright infringement lawsuit against the disco group after winning an appeal. Ronald Louis Smith, Jr. launched legal action in October, 2012 following his dad's death earlier that year, amid allegations the Get Down Tonight hitmakers, including frontman Harry Wayne Casey, and their label executives at Sunshine Sound Entertainment Inc. had withheld royalty payments for songs like Spank, which the late trumpeter had helped to write and produce in the late 1970s for Jimmie 'Bo' Horne. A federal judge in Miami, Florida dismissed the suit for lack of standing last March (13), claiming Smith, Sr. had not registered the copyright for himself, instead allowing his former label bosses to file the papers for the company. However, the ruling was reversed during a hearing at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Georgia last week (ends24Jan14), when a panel of judges allowed Smith, Jr. to continue fighting his case. The legal battle will now go back to a district court, where officials will determine if the late musician's relatives are entitled to additional royalties. Smith, Jr. had originally sued for more than $250,000 (£156,250) in damages on the grounds of copyright infringement and breach of contract.

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