'Just in Time': Nina Simone case to be heard in California

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'Just in Time': Nina Simone case to be heard in California

Thu Aug 06, 2009 @ 12:38PM PST

By Eriq Gardner

Nina Love me love me love me love me say you do...Nina Simone certainly had a lot of loves in her life, and now the late singer's songs are being fussed over by her former lawyer, Stephen Brown, and her former husband and manager, Andrew Stroud.

Brown claims to have obtained 40% ownership from Simone in an agreement before her 2003 death. He has leveraged that deal well, having licensed the song, "Just in Time," to the 2004 movie "Before Sunset."

Enter Stroud, who was married to Simone in the 1960s and also was her manager. 

After "Before Sunset" was released by Warner Bros, Stroud sued the film companies, claiming ownership of the song.

In turn, Brown sued Stroud, claiming he was asserting an improper copyright license. Brown filed two cases, in California and in New York. 

Now the judge in the New York case has dismissed the case and transferred ultimate resolution over the Nina Simone copyright question to California's courts.

There's also a biopic of Simone's life being produced for MTV Films and the potential that these copyright uncertainties put a wrinkle in that production. 

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The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to [email protected]

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