Entertainment briefs – March 23

The widow of country music singer Roger Miller has won a protracted legal battle over the copyrights to King of the Road, and some of the late artist’s best known songs.

Miller widow wins rights battle

NASHVILLE — The widow of country music singer Roger Miller has won a protracted legal battle over the copyrights to King of the Road, and some of the late artist’s best known songs.

U.S. District Judge William J. Haynes ruled last week that copyright ownership for many of his songs from 1964 onward rests with Marry Miller and Roger Miller Music, Inc.

The songs include Dang Me, Chug-A-Lug, and You Can’t Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd. Miller, who also acted in and wrote the lyrics and music to the Tony-award winning Broadway musical Big River, died from cancer in 1992 at the age of 56.

Mary Miller sued Sony/ATV Publishing in 2004 for the rights to the songs.

The judge also awarded her and the company a little more than $900,000.


Affleck launches Congo aid group

NAIROBI, Kenya — Ben Affleck launched a new initiative Monday to raise money and awareness over atrocities committed against women and children during years of conflict in eastern Congo, Affleck told The Associated Press.

The American actor and director spent five days in the country last week, where he met with former child sex slaves and prisoners convicted of rape in the hope of gaining a better understanding of Congo’s troubles.

The new foundation — the Eastern Congo Initiative — will support community-based, Congolese groups, said Affleck on the heels of his fifth trip to the country.

“It was folks in these communities that were addressing the humanitarian crisis who were doing the most, in my view, to solve it, because they understood the community, because they understood the problem, they were the most dedicated and the most committed because it was their lives,” Affleck said.

“Naturally they were best equipped to solve it. Their impediment was they didn’t have the means, the funding,” he said.


Gaga files response to $30M lawsuit

NEW YORK — Lady Gaga is firing back at a music producer who claims he launched her career and is suing her for $30.5 million. Her lawyer said in a court filing made public Friday the agreement at the heart of the suit was “unlawful.”

Song writer and music producer Rob Fusari filed the lawsuit Wednesday in Manhattan against the Grammy Award-winning performer. He said his protege and former girlfriend, whose real name is Stefani Germanotta, ditched him as her career soared.

The lawsuit said they co-wrote songs such as Paparazzi and Beautiful, Dirty, Rich. Fusari also said he came up with her stage name and helped get her record deal.

According to the lawsuit, Lady Gaga and Fusari’s relationship turned romantic and then became a business partnership in May 2006, when they created a joint venture called Team Love Child LLC to promote her career. Fusari’s share was 20 per cent.

But Lady Gaga lawyer Charles Ortner wrote in his response that the arrangement was “structured in such a way as to mask its true purpose — to provide to the defendants unlawful compensation for their services as unlicensed employment agents.”

Ortner wrote that Fusari and his company violated statutes that prohibited them from “acting as employment agents without a license and charging Lady Gaga an unlawful fee for their purported services.”

Lady Gaga won two Grammys in January: best dance recording, for Poker Face, and best electronic/dance album, for The Fame.

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