General News

Sixto Rodriguez accused of breaching 1960s songwriting deal

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May 29, 2014 | 1:01pm EDT

Veteran folk star Sixto Rodriguez has been named in legal papers over allegations suggesting he breached a songwriter deal from the 1960s. The Mexican-American singer has been added to a list of defendants in an existing lawsuit recently filed in Detroit, Michigan by Gomba Music bosses, who claimed they were the true copyright owners of tracks from Rodriguez's 1970 album Cold Fact, not his associates at Interior Music Group - as they had signed him to a songwriting deal years earlier. The plaintiffs alleged Interior executives had "concocted a scheme to fraudulently conceal the writing of compositions by Sixto Rodriguez" by crediting the tunes to a fictional brother called Jesus Rodriguez, but Interior chiefs have now fired back, and they are blaming the singer for the dispute. Interior bosses believed they owned the copyrights, as the singer had told them he had issued a sworn affidavit to Gomba notifying them of the rescission of his contract in 1969, thereby releasing Rodriguez from his writing commitments - but they are now convinced the musician has been working with Gomba to obtain royalties that are more than four decades old, according to The Hollywood Reporter. This week (begs26May14), Interior chiefs lodged a third-party complaint against Rodriguez and stated, "By cooperating with Gomba in the prosecution of the claim, Rodriguez would be admitting his own sworn affidavit was false". The singer, the star of Oscar-winning 2012 documentary Searching for Sugar Man, has yet to comment on the legal action. The news is another blow to Rodriguez after Searching for Sugar Man director Malik Bendjelloul committed suicide in his native Sweden earlier this month (May14).

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