Solomon Linda to be credited as co-author.
The family of late South African songwriter Solomon Linda has settled a long-running dispute over the copyright to "The Lion Sleeps Tonight."
Under the terms of the settlement with Abilene Music LLC, announced Thursday (Feb. 16), Linda will be acknowledged as the co-author of song along with George David Weiss, Luigi Creatore and Hugo Peretti. N.Y.-based Abilene administers the copyright to the song in the United States.
In addition, "appropriate compensation for past and future uses" of the song will be paid to, and administered by, a trust of which Linda's heirs are the sole beneficiaries, both parties said in a joint-statement. The value of Abilene’s settlement has not been revealed.
In a statement, Weiss and Creatore, speaking on behalf of the song’s authors, expressed "their delight in seeing this litigation resolved to everyone's satisfaction" and said they believe that the public dissemination of the song "will only be enhanced" going forward.
Linda's copyright in the song will be assigned to the trust which will be run by a board that includes Southern African Music Rights Organization CEO-designate Nick Motstate, plus Hanro Friedrich, attorney for Linda's heirs, the Ntsele family.
Linda wrote the song "Mbube" in 1939, which is the basis for the international hit "The Lion Sleeps Tonight." The latter is featured in the hugely successful 1994 Disney movie "The Lion King" and in the Disney stage musical of the same name.
Although Linda's contribution to "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" has long been openly acknowledged, the migrant worker never received credit as a co-composer. He died a pauper without leaving a will in 1962.