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Eric Carr’s estate sues KISS as part of its estate administration

Many Massachusetts music fans know that Eric Carr was the second drummer for the iconic band KISS. During his time with the band, he wrote four songs for which he received royalties. When he died in 1991, the estate believed it continued to receive royalties for those songs from all relevant sources. Recently, the estate discovered that was not the case, and as part of an ongoing estate administration, it filed suit against KISS and others.

Reportedly, the estate was under the impression that it was receiving all of the deceased drummer’s royalties from one source. Further, one of the songs, “Little Caesar,” was originally copyrighted in 1989. Carr was listed as the author of the song at that time. However, when it was re-registered the year after Carr’s death, his name was not listed.

Due to these issues, the estate filed its lawsuit on behalf of the heirs and beneficiaries, seeking to recover unpaid royalties and to ensure they are paid consistently in the future. The estate claims it is only seeking the same royalties received by Carr prior to his death. The report did not specify how it is requesting the copyright issue be resolved.

The primary function of the executor or executors during a Massachusetts estate administration is to identify and gather all of the assets of the decedent. Sometimes, it is necessary to conduct a significant amount of research and due diligence to make sure the estate, and subsequently the heirs and beneficiaries, account for everything. In this case, it took more than 20 years to track down all of the estate’s assets, partly due to the mistaken impression that the royalties due were coming from one source. Fortunately, the estate is now trying to rectify that oversight.

Source:, Eric Carr’s Heirs Sue Kiss Over Unpaid Royalties, No author, March 11, 2014


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