Bob Dylan Sued by Wife of Former Collaborator Over Sale of Songwriting Catalog

The family of Jacques Levy is seeking more than $7 million in the suit

bob dylan festival performance
Bob Dylan performs during the British Summer Time festival at Hyde Park in London.
PA Images via Getty Images

Last month, Bob Dylan sold the entirety of his songwriting catalog — including more than 600 copyrights spanning 60 years — to Universal Music Publishing Group for an undisclosed sum of money estimated to be upwards of $300 million. Now, there’s a new wrinkle to the deal: the legendary musician is being sued by the wife and publishing company of Dylan collaborator Jacques Levy, who claim that they deserve a cut.

Levy, who died of cancer in 2004, first met Dylan in the ’70s through Roger McGuinn of The Byrds, and he co-wrote songs for 1976’s Desire with Dylan, including “Hurricane,” “Isis” and “Joey.” He also served as the stage director for the 1975 and 1976 legs of the musician’s Rolling Thunder Revue tour, which was recently the subject of a 2019 documentary by Martin Scorsese. Levy’s family claims in the lawsuit, which seeks $7.25 million, that Dylan owes them 35% of income earned from the songs he co-wrote.

The suit, which was filed Jan. 21, claims that Dylan’s team has “refused to remit to [Levy’s family] their rightful share of the revenue and/or income earned from the catalog Sale with respect to the compositions.”

“This lawsuit is a sad attempt to unfairly profit off of the recent catalog sale,” Orin Snyder, Dylan’s lawyer, said in a statement to Pitchfork. “The plaintiffs have been paid everything they are owed. We are confident that we will prevail. And when we do, we will hold plaintiffs and their counsel responsible for bringing this meritless case.”

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