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US firm pays SAfrican heirs of Lion song composer - Reuters, 2/17/06

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  • US firm pays SAfrican heirs of Lion song composer - Reuters, 2/17/06

    A U.S. company has settled a long-running legal dispute with a South African family over the copyright to "The Lion Sleeps Tonight", one of Africa's most famous tunes, lawyers said on Friday.

    Lawyers acting for the family of Zulu migrant worker Solomon Linda, the song's original composer, said Abilene Music -- which administered its copyright in the United States -- had 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 live in poverty in the Johannesburg township of Soweto and were originally claiming 10 million rand ($1.6 million) in damages against the company.

    "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," Blignaut said.
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