Aretha Franklin has released a statement in response to songwriter Norman “Ace” West who sued the Queen of Soul’s publishing company in a fight over royalties.
Aretha’s Springtime Publishing Inc, is being sued for copyright infringement who is seeking unspecified damages for future royalties.West said no royalty agreement was signed for “Put It Back Together Again.” That song and “New Day,” which West said he co-wrote, appear on “Aretha: A Woman Falling Out of Love.” The CD was released this spring — her first studio album in about eight years.
The Queen of Soul responded with the following:
“To say the least, I am extremely disappointed that Norman West had the unmitigated gall to file a law suit against Springtime Publishing, Inc. considering how I’ve personally assisted and advised him over the past fifteen years. I’ve helped Norman West make a name for himself in the music industry, earn a living and in the past I’ve used several of his songs on my CD’s, which resulted in other artists performing and recording his compositions. Vanessa Bell Armstrong recorded his song “Good News” after hearing my version of it. This resulted in earning him extra income from my support of his career. Additionally, I’ve hired him and his group, of which my son is a member, to open for me numerous times on tour. I did this to help to him and the group secure national visibility in major markets across the country.
Customarily, Mr. West conducts business with my attorney and he has always been compensated by a significant advance for any of the songs I’ve recorded that he’s written. With regard to Mr. West’s claim of an unsigned publishing agreement for the last song I recorded of his on my new CD — it is as I initially thought, my attorney informed me that we do in fact have a signed publishing agreement by Mr. West on file. However, Mr. West’s attorney wanted to make changes to the agreement after the fact. To add insult to injury, Mr. West received an advance at the same time he signed the agreement, probably more than anything he would have earned on his own.
What disappointed me most was the fact that Norman West could’ve very easily gotten a message to me through one of my two sons, whom he knows well and occasionally sings with. But, instead he chose to get his name in the paper by publicizing issues that were grossly inaccurate as far as my publishing company is concerned.”
Both West and Franklin have a long history together and have worked with one another for over 20 years. Here’s hoping they can work this out.