Cher Defeats Sonny Bono’s Widow In Royalties Lawsuit Tied To Divorce Settlement

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Cher has won a lawsuit against Sonny Bono’s widow Mary over royalties related to the songs that she made as one-half of Sonny And Cher, as Billboard reports. As part of their 1978 divorce settlement, Cher was granted a permanent 50% cut of the publishing revenues of the songs that Sonny and Cher had recorded together during the time that they were married.

Even after Sonny Bono’s death in 1998, Cher continued receiving royalties from his estate. In 2016, Mary Bono invoked the “termination right,” a federal copyright law designed for songwriters and heirs to gain control of intellectual property following their death. And in 2021, they stopped paying royalties altogether. Cher filed her lawsuit later that year.

In the ruling, the judge said that Cher’s divorce settlement constitutes a “contractual right to receive financial compensation,” one that can’t be overturned by the termination right. She’s now owed over $400,000 in past royalties that have accrued since the lawsuit began.

In other Cher legal news, Cher and her son Elijah Blue Allman have come to a temporary agreement to pause legal proceedings in relation to Cher’s petition to have an emergency conservatorship placed over her son, which had been denied by a Los Angeles judge.