The Ray Charles Foundation now holds all rights to the professional name, likeness, celebrity and other intellectual property of Ray Charles. The decisive ruling was handed down on the eve of the fifth anniversary of the late singer's death (June 10, 2004) by the United States District Court, Central District of California.

Valerie Ervin, president of The Ray Charles Foundation, says the judgment is Also vindication for Charles' former manager, Joe Adams. "The attack on Mr. Adams' name and reputation caused him a great deal of undo stress over the years," says Ervin in a written statement. "These attacks were old, baseless allegations. This ruling does provide him with some solace. Ray is smiling down, knowing that we are continuing to carry on his philanthropy and protect his work as he envisioned."

Ervin did not reveal the financial details of the ruling. According to the statement, the foundation has been awarded compensatory damages, representing three times its actual damages. In addition, the organization was awarded reasonable attorney's fees and lawsuit costs. The suit stemmed from allegations made against the foundation by several of Charles' children in an attempt to win control of the marketing of the singer's name and image as well as more participation in the handling of foundation affairs.

The ruling allows The Ray Charles Foundation to continue providing medical research, financial aid and educational support to the hearing impaired and underprivileged. Established in 1986, the foundation has donated more than $10 million in grants. Thus far in 2009, $1.9 million has been awarded to such institutions as Dillard University and the Oralingua School for the Hearing Impaired.

In conjunction with the Concord Music Group, the foundation launched a 16-episode video podcast series this month. "Ray Charles, Genius," produced by Bret Primack and airing on YouTube, chronicles Charles' creative process. In November 2008, the Foundation entered into an exclusive agreement with Concord to develop Charles' post-1960 catalog, which includes his seminal work for the ABC and Tangerine labels. Upcoming foundation projects include additional reissues featuring never-before-heard recordings and the completion of the Ray Charles Library.

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