Cher Wins Copyright Lawsuit Against Ex-Husband Sonny Bono’s Widow Mary


Nearly three years after she first filed swimsuit in opposition to Mary Bono, Cher has received her copyright lawsuit in opposition to the widow of ex-husband Sonny Bono.

The singer, 78, sued Mary in October 2021 over a dispute involving royalty funds from songs she recorded with Sonny & Cher — and on Wednesday, May 29, a California decide decided that the star is owed greater than $418,000 in unpaid royalties.

“As to the resulting damages, the parties agree that Wixen distributed at least $187,000 of Composition Royalties to Sonny’s heirs that, but for the invalid termination, would have been distributed to [Cher]; of this amount, at least $93,500 was paid to [Mary]. The parties also do not dispute that, as of June 30, 2022, Wixen [Music Publishing] held $418,156.82 in Composition Royalties that would have been distributed to [Cher],” the decide mentioned, in line with courtroom minutes obtained by PEOPLE.

Attorneys for Cher and Mary didn’t instantly reply to PEOPLE’s request for remark.

Cher and Mary Bono in 1998.
Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection by way of Getty

In 1978, shortly after Cher and Sonny divorced, the couple agreed that the “Believe” singer would get a 50% stake of their Sonny & Cher publishing catalog. When Sonny died in a snowboarding accident in 1998, Mary was appointed the administrator of his property, and he or she and his 4 kids (recognized collectively as “the heirs”) entered a partnership over the songs.

Wixen Music Publishing grew to become concerned in 2011, and in line with Cher’s preliminary grievance, the corporate “collected and disbursed” her minimize of royalties within the years following.

But in 2016, Mary, 62, made use of the “terminations rights” part of the Copyright Act, which permits songwriters or their heirs to win again management of their U.S. publishing rights after 35 years. Cher mentioned that the heirs exercised the termination with out her “knowledge of participation.”

Sonny Bono and Cher in 1966.

Marcello Salustri/Mondadori by way of Getty

Mary mentioned in 2021 that by way of these rights, she was capable of cease paying Cher her royalties, and so the star sued.

A tentative ruling in February was in Cher’s favor, and Judge John Kronstadt upheld that ruling on Wednesday.

Sonny and Cher had been married in 1974, and rose to fame with hits like “I Got You Babe” and a CBS selection present referred to as The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour. Mary and Sonny married in 1986.


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