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Latest: the Gershwins want more money from Jack Warner

It’s hard to figure out, but lawyers for Marc George Gershwin and other tangential descendants of the great composer – who died childless in 1937 – are saying the music biz has bilked them of at least $15 million.

Here’s a sample claim:

With respect to reported rentals of Concerto in F in Italy during 2003, the royalty review revealed that the Defendants permitted and/or authorized…  the following: excessive and unnecessary chain of fees and commissions. First, on the $1,903.27 of gross revenue actually paid for the rentals by the end user, a 35% commission was taken by Ricordi Music Publishing SPA, the local rental third-party sub-agent in the territory of Italy, before it remitted the net revenue to Warner/Chappell Italy, the Defendants’ affiliated entity in Italy….


Gimme a break.

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  1. Producers and publishers screwing artists?


    I am shocked…SHOCKED to find that gambling is going on in here.

  2. Jeffrey, I don’t see any artist involved here… that’s to say that IMO intellectual property rights should cease just after the death of the creator.

  3. Ha! While these clowns haggle over the spoils, the hire sets of the Gershwin Concerto in F are almost unusably bad. Riddled with errors, crudely copied and scarred by decades of use without re-editing, re-setting or re-printing. A set we hired lately contained an extensive pencilled plea from the principal clarinet of a leading UK orchestra, begging the publishers to take their obligations seriously. In regard to this work, Gershwin’s heirs seem to have spent 70 years milking it dry without, apparently, ever bothering to issue an accurate set of parts. That’s how much they cherish Gershwin’s legacy.

  4. Who could ask for anything more says:

    The Gershwin Estate are always interesting Norman.

    No one much has commented on the fact that after Ira died his family (or his publishers) changed most of the publishing details of the songs from Music by George Gershwin Lyrics by Ira Gershwin to Music and Lyrics by George and Ira Gershwin.

    I know it is to extend copyright terms but it still seems to be harsh on the musical genius that was George Gershwin doesn’t it?

  5. Michael J Stewart says:

    This would account for the fact that we hear so little of Menotti’s music nowadays. Very sad.

  6. Robert Fitzpatrick says:

    Another reason for the absence of Menotti is that the rental materials, at least of the instrumental works, are in very poor condition. This might have changed by now, but in 1982 they (Ricordi, I believe)) rented the Violin Concerto (a work deserving of at least an occasional hearing) with a piano conductor score. They said there was no full orchestral score. Chip Menotti is noted for playing the role of Toby, the mute, in the Medium. I have a feeling he needs the money because his Father spent it faster than he could make it.

  7. Robert Fitzpatrick says:

    It could have also been G. Shirmer in the USA, I’m not sure.

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