Song Biz: Disney Sued by Song Heirs


The Walt Disney Co. is being sued in Texas state court by the children of the songwriter of "The Bare Necessities," the Oscar-nominated song from the 1967 film The Jungle Book, alleging Disney breached a contract mandating it pay them royalties for their father's music.

In an 11-page complaint, the three children of folk singer and composer Terry Gilkyson claim that Disney sold millions of copies of The Jungle Book on videocassettes and DVDs, but didn't pay him or his family royalties for his song, which was prominently featured in the movie.

Gilkyson wrote "The Bare Necessities" for the film.  His contract with Disney stated that he was to receive half the net amount received by Disney's music publisher "on account of licensing or other disposition of the mechanical reproduction rights in and to material so written by you," according to the lawsuit.

Terry Gilkyson died in 1999 and his widow, Joan Gilkyson, died three years later, leaving her and her late husband's estate to their three children: singer-songwriters Eliza and Tony, and Nancy Gilkyson, a music business executive.  The plaintiffs are seeking unspecified damages, attorneys' fees and costs.