Poor South Africans from Soweto are suing Disney for rights to the song "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," used in The Lion King, itself already a ripoff of a Japanese cartoon.
The lilting song, initially called "Mbube," earned an estimated $15 million in royalties since it was written by Zulu migrant worker Solomon Linda in 1939, and featured in Walt Disney's "Lion King" movies.If anyone deserves a piece of the Mickey pie, it's South Africans from Soweto, who have been being screwed since the Boers landed in like the 1700s (or whenever it was. Apologies to my history professor.)
However, Linda's impoverished family have only received about $15,000, the lawyers said.
...If the case is successful, legal action may also be launched against Disney and other companies in the United Kingdom or Australia, where British copyright laws would have applied, Dean added.
It would also have widespread implications for other South African musicians, authors and artists who may have sold their rights without being aware of their entitlements. "The family are entitled to royalties. There has also been a misappropriation of South African culture -- the song is thought to be American," Dean said.
Linda's grandson Zathele Madonsela, 16, told reporters the case was very important for his family, who live in poverty in the Johannesburg township of Soweto.
I hope they squeeze every last drop they can.