Phil Kirkpatrick and Joshua Cumby won a judgment in favor of Don Everly against the heirs of Phil Everly following a two-day bench trial of a copyright dispute involving one of the Everly Brothers' biggest hits, "Cathy's Clown."
U.S. District Judge Aleta A. Trauger, in Everly v. Everly, et al., Case No. 3:17-cv-01440 (Middle District of Tenn.), found that Don Everly had repudiated his late brother, Phil's claim as a co-author of the song many years earlier, by letter and, later, in a telephone call, and that Phil's heirs had waited too long to bring their countersuit seeking a declaration that Phil co-wrote the song. Don Everly says that he is the sole author of "Cathy's Clown."
According to Phil Kirkpatrick, "this case applies the 'express repudiation of authorship doctrine' in conjunction with what are known as 'copyright termination rights,' the rights of authors to get U.S. copyright rights back from publishers after the passage of the statutorily required number of years.”
Don and Phil Everly performed and recorded as The Everly Brothers, one of the most influential groups in the history of popular music.