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Roberts Chapman

Roberts Chapman is suing multiple defendants in his lawsuit over copyright infringement in the 1995 multi-Tony Award-nominated, Grammy Award-winning Broadway musical revue “Smokey Joe’s Cafe: The Songs

of Leiber and Stoller.”  Roberts claims that his original arrangement from the production has been reproduced in many other projects without crediting or compensating him. The defendants include Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization, Broadway HD, Amazon Digital Services LLC, and SONY/ATV Music Publishing. Roberts explained that the musical had been replicated, restaged, and live-streamed over two decades without crediting or compensating him.

“The Broadway show features Roberts’ vocal arrangements of Leiber and Stoller’s rock and roll and rhythm and blues hits — such as “Jailhouse Rock,” and the Elvis Presley version of “Hound Dog;” the popular, bluesy version of “On Broadway;” the catchy novelty tunes “Love Potion #9,” “Poison Ivy,” “Yakety Yak” and “Charlie Brown;” and the 1961 soul classic “Stand by Me,” that the songwriting duo crafted with singer, Ben E. King.”

“I become more acutely aware of the scope of the saga and its historical ramifications. This is a precedent-setting case seeped in the reparations furor that has been brewing in this country and globally for decades,” said Roberts.

– Excerpt from an article for Black Enterprise by Editors. Read the full article here.


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