Weinstein & Randisi
Toll free:800-768-1780

Resize the Content Text

Heirs seek additional royalties from Disney

Disney is currently facing a lawsuit from heirs to the man who wrote some of the songs related to the animated version of Rudyard Kipling's "The Jungle Book." The animated movie was released by Disney in 1967. According to the lawsuit, the man in question wrote several songs for the movie. However, only one song -- "The Bare Necessities" -- ended up in the movie.

Documents indicate that the man signed a contract with Disney. He agreed that Disney would be listed as the writer for the songs and that the songs could be used in conjunction with the movie. In return, Disney paid the man $1,000 for each song and also agreed to pay ongoing royalties for licensing and sheet music.

The lawsuit claims that Disney did make these payments and that in 1999, when the man passed away, Disney began making payments to his heirs. However, in 2013, the heirs filed a lawsuit. They claimed that Disney had failed to make royalty payments associated with DVD and VHS releases of the movie and songs.

First trial courts dismissed the lawsuit on the basis of a statute of limitations, which was four years for such cases in the state where the lawsuit was filed. The lawsuit was filed in 2013, but the VHS tape of the movie was released in 1991 and the DVD in 2007. The heirs amended the lawsuit to include re-releases of DVD and Blu-ray versions of the movie, but the trial court still sided with Disney.

An appeals court, however, has since received those decisions. The appellate judge cited a doctrine of law called the continuous accrual doctrine, saying this kept part of the heirs claims timely. While you probably aren't heir to a Disney song estate, statutes of limitation are an important concern for many heirs who are dealing with estate-related legal and royalty matters. As you can see from this case, working with a professional who understands the law and can argue for you up to and through appeals can help you make the best possible case.

Source: Courthouse News Service, "Songwriter's Heirs Advance 'Jungle Book' Case," Jeff D. Gorman, Feb. 29, 2016

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
  • I wanted to write to say how pleased my wife and I were at your professional handling of our estate planning and preparation of new wills. We were put at ease by your visit to our home for an interview and were pleased that you listened to us and captured the things that we felt were important.

    --Robert and Christine Simonson, Fairport
  • In order to finalize the documents we came to your office and were greeted in a very professional manner and we could not have asked for finer service. We left with copies of everything we needed and feel very confident our needs have been met. Thanks again. We will surely recommend you should the opportunity arise.

    — Christine and Robert Simonson, Fairport
  • I have been working with Weinstein & Randisi for about two years now. Elizabeth Randisi, through a very thorough process, has helped my wife and me determine what is really important in our lives. Thus, we were able to draft a living will that reflected our most important values regarding our estate.

    --David and Ajia Cherry, Fairport
  • I would like to give a testimony for Elizabeth Randisi, an estate attorney with Weinstein & Randisi. Her knowledge of wills and estate planning was clearly demonstrated in her presentation to us. Realizing our need for a will, my husband and I went to see Elizabeth.

    --Kathy and Gary Gray, Webster
  • Filing for Medicaid is never an easy or fun process. However, working with the Weinstein & Randisi firm made the process simple and streamlined. We were able to obtain all files and records regarding Medicaid enrollment within a few days using specially prepared checklists and verbiage recommended by our assigned paralegal.

    --Ajia and David Cherry, Fairport
Awarded Top 50 Estate Planning Blog
Email Us For a Response

How Can We Help You?

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Blog Feed


Weinstein & Randisi - estate planning

290 Linden Oaks, Ste. 200
Rochester, NY 14625

Toll Free: 800-768-1780
Phone: 585-310-1578
Rochester Law Office Map


Call us now for a free, 100% confidential consultation: