The legal heirs of Elvis Presley lost a lawsuit Wednesday in Germany claiming a fortune from Sony Music Entertainment Germany for what they called the exploitation of the king of rock and roll's greatest hits. Munich judges mockingly quoted one of Presley's lyrics, 'Money, honey, if you want to get along with me,' as they threw out a claim by Elvis Presley Enterprises for a share of the record company's profits over the past 40 years.
Presley signed away to RCA Records in 1973 the rights to 1,000 hits, including Heartbreak Hotel and Jailhouse Rock, for a lump sum of 5.4 million dollars. Sony later acquired the rights. The singer's estate argued the package was now worth 130 million dollars thanks to German copyright extensions. They partly based their claim on a 2002 provision in German rights law that ordains a top-up of royalties for unexpected best-sellers.
But judges disagreed. Christian Czychowski, the lawyer for Elvis Presley Enterprises, in which the icon's daughter Lisa-Marie Presley holds a 15-per-cent stake, said his client would appeal.