(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — A South African family has finally settled a long-running lawsuit with Abilene Music over the copyright to “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.”
Lawyers representing the family of Zulu migrant worker Solomon Linda, the song’s original composer, agreed to settle the dispute for an undisclosed sum.
“The amount is confidential…but it’s been described as an amount which is suitable for the family’s needs and includes both back payments for royalties as well as future payments,” lawyer Herman Blignaut told Reuters.
Linda’s family lives in poverty in the Johnnesburg township of Soweto. They originally claimed damages of 10 million rand ($1.6 million) against the company, who administers the copyright in the United States.
“The family are obviously very happy that this matter has been settled and they have something to show for it…a trust has been established to manage the funds and give them guidance as it’s a significant sum of money,” continued Blignaut.
The song, originally titled “Mbube” by Linda, has earned an estimated $15 million since it was first written in 1939 after being recorded by more than 150 artists worldwide. It experienced a resurgence of popularity following its feature in the Walt Disney Co. film and subsequent stage production “The Lion King.”
Abilene Music confirmed the settlement in a statement.
“It is confirmed that ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’ was derived from Mbube and that Solomon Linda was therefore a co-author of the musical work,” the statement read. “Solomon Linda’s heirs will not receive appropriate compensation for past and future uses of ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight.” –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers