Legal Storm Over “Let It Snow”

Legal Storm Over “Let It Snow”

As many of you prepare for Christmas tomorrow, allow us to wrap up the week with a crackling yuletide BLLAWG post on the lawsuit over “Let It Snow” royalties and more.

The iconic lyricist Sammy Cahn co-wrote the song with composer Jule Styne in July 1945 during a heat wave in Los Angeles. Since then it has become a Christmas classic, covered by a multitude of musicians.

Alleging breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duties and more (naughty, not nice), the Tita Cahn Trust, filed suit earlier this month against WB Music and Warner/Chappell Music.

The suit notes that in August 2011, the Styne estate had conducted an audit of the defendants and made a claim against the same musical composition. When the plaintiff was informed and then requested pertinent information on this matter from the music companies, it was “stonewalled.”

“Defendants willfully breached the Administration Agreement and disregarded their fiduciary duties owed to the Plaintiff by favoring the interests of  the Styne Estate (whose copyrights continue to be administered by Defendants) to the detriment of Plaintiff (whose administration agreement with Defendants expired in December 2011, subject to post-term obligations from Defendants to Plaintiff).

In March 2013, the plaintiff initiated an attempt to audit the defendants’ books and records, but the defendants did not comply.

“Instead of providing this basic information, and in blatant disregard of the process outlined in the Administration Agreement, Defendants recklessly exercised a crude form of ‘self-help’ and converted more than $2,000,000 in monies owed to the Plaintiff, most of which relates to the compositions other than ‘Let it Snow.’”

The plaintiff is seeking an accounting for any and all royalties and other monies due after March 2010; the imposition of a constructive trust on the $2 million dollars owed; actual, compensatory, exemplary and punitive damages; pre- and post-judgment interest; and attorneys’ fees.

On that musical and legal note, LLM, Inc. based in Austin, Texas — where the weather outside is definitely not frightful — wishes you and yours a very Merry Christmas.

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