Do you believe in life after court?
The one and only Cher is seeking what she claims is her share of royalties from her time as Sonny Bono's musical partner.
Sonny and Cher were one of the biggest acts in the 1960's spawning a number of hits such as 'I Got You Babe' and Cher now claims she hasn't been paid her fair share of royalties, to the tune of $1 million dollars.
Cher filed a claim last October, Mary Bono and the Bono Collection Trust are trying to illegally terminate her 50% share of the composition and recording royalties for Sonny & Cher songs she was awarded in her 1978 divorce.
According to Mary Bono, that 50% stake has expired, with the rights going to Sonny Bono's heirs.
The case is being heard by a federal judge in the United States, and the case saw its first major hearing on Monday.
U.S District Judge John A. Kronstadt posed a hypothetical situation to the court as the proceedings got underway, asking what would happen if a couple ended a marriage and "like here," one of the spouses agreed to waive spousal support in exchange for royalty payments.
“A year later, while both spouses are still alive, there’s this termination of the source of the revenues so that the spouse who was going to be getting the revenues doesn’t get them anymore. Having waved spousal support a year earlier, do you think that spouse would be remedy-less?” the judge asked.
“They couldn’t go back to the court and say they need to change or modify the judgment they previously entered because it assumed they’d be receiving revenues they’re no longer getting?” Kronstadt continued.
Bono’s lawyer, Daniel J. Schacht, said the judge's hypothetical raised a “fairness” question that seemed to work against the position of his client.
Schacht said the Copyright Act “Is a rule that has to be applied universally,” and added "It’s not, quite frankly, the Chers of the world that Congress is worried about, it’s the publishers. They’re trying to protect authors and grant them another bite at the apple.”
Cher's lawyer, Peter J. Anderson said the judge's hypothetical was “another reason to conclude that these are state law rights that are excluded from the scope of termination” as outlined in the Copyright Act.
Anderson posited “the heirs are not strangers. They succeeded to Sonny’s rights under a contract that said that his rights were subject to the obligations that he had undertaken in the marital settlement agreement," and argued that royalty rights are not rights under the Copyright Act.
The opposing camps have two weeks to file further arguments ahead of the judge's ruling.
Cher has had a long and storied career in show business, with Cher first attaining fame as the singing partner of Sonny Bono in the 1960s before going on to a wildly successful career as a pop star with hits such as 'If I Could Turn Back Time' and 'Believe'.
Not content with conquering the pop charts, Cher also took home an Oscar in 1988 for her role in the comedy 'Moonstruck' and was most recently seen in 2018's 'Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again'.