More MS news articles for Mar 2002

Richard Pryor Gets Recordings Back

Thu Mar 7, 1:49 PM ET

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - Richard Pryor has won the return of master recordings made early in his career by settling his lawsuit against a Middlesex County enterprise.
The 60-year-old comedian sought the materials because he's ill with multiple sclerosis, said his lawyer, William J. Heller.

"He has engaged in efforts to recapture his rights so he can take care of his family," Heller said Wednesday.

Last spring, Pryor sued Michael Chernow and his Sayreville-based companies, M.B. Music Inc. and San Juan Music Group Ltd., claiming the defendants infringed on his property rights.

Chernow agreed to return the recordings and refrain from any infringement. He admitted no wrongdoing.

In return, Pryor paid $10,000, Chernow said. That was the sum M.B. Music paid in 1988 for the assets of the bankrupt LaffRecords, which Pryor had licensed to market some of his recordings, according to findings by U.S. District Judge Dickinson R. Debevoise.

The year before, however, Pryor had reacquired all rights to the material from the bankruptcy trustee, Debevoise found. He approved the settlement Feb. 27.

Since then, compact discs and tapes with three to four hours of Pryor shows from the late 1960s to early 1970s have been returned, Chernow said. He said he transferred the recordings from reel-to-reel tape to the digital format.

"We agreed that none of us had anything to fight over. The masters were not earning anything for us, and from what I gather, were much more valuable to Mr. Pryor than us," Chernow said.

Pryor's latest album won a Grammy last month for album notes: "Richard Pryor ... And It's Deep Too! The Complete Warner Bros. Recordings (1968-1992)."

Copyright © 2002 The Associated Press