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Bluesman's son wins custody of photos, profits

  • Article by: JACK ELLIOTT JR.
  • Associated Press
  • February 20, 2014 - 3:40 PM

JACKSON, Miss. — The Mississippi Supreme Court says the son of Delta bluesman Robert Johnson can keep the profits from the only known photographs of his father.

The case turned on a technicality. The court ruled Thursday that other family members knew as early as 1990 about the photos and royalty payments. A court declared Claud Johnson the musician's sole heir in 1998.

Under Mississippi's statute of limitation, the state Supreme Court ruled a legal challenge should have been filed no later than 1994. A lawsuit by other family members over the photos was filed in 2000.

The court rejected arguments that the clock started when Claud Johnson was named sole heir.

Robert Johnson was destitute when he died in 1938 at age 27. A collection of his recordings won a Grammy in 1990.

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