Contract Term Plagues Stevie Wonder

Piano keyboardEarly in his career Stevie Wonder signed a contract with Motown Records.  Like thousands of other recording artists, the terms were more beneficial to the record companies than for the artists.  Wonder secured an attorney, Johanan Vigoda, to help him disengage from the Motown contract.

Vigoda was also able to secure a lucrative new contract for Wonder that was considered to be one of the best in the industry. Vigoda passed away in 2011.

Vigoda’s widow now claims that Wonder has failed to live up to that contract. A provision in it gives 6 percent of Wonder’s royalties to Vigoda and to Vigoda’s heirs in perpetuity. The 6 percent is higher than music industry standards and the perpetuity clause is also irregular.

The Daily Beast reported on this lawsuit in “Is Stevie Wonder Cheating a Dead Man?

As everyone knows, Stevie Wonder is blind. He never read the contract himself, but had it read to him. He claims that either the perpetuity provision was not read to him or that he failed to catch it when the contract was being read.

The great irony in this case is that the attorney who got Stevie Wonder out of a bad contract may have turned around and tricked Wonder into another one. That is at least the accusation. As of now, no court date is set in this case, so it may be quite a while before we know what happens.

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Reference: The Daily Beast (September 21, 2015) “Is Stevie Wonder Cheating a Dead Man?


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