On Friday, July 30, a New York Judge Barry Ostrager of the Supreme Court of New York ruled that the agreement signed between Dylan and Levy in 1975 made it clear that Levy did not have ownership of the material. The statement clarified: “Levy’s compensation rights are defined and expressly limited by the terms of the Agreement.”
Levy co-penned album highlights including “Hurricane” — a song about the boxer Rubin Carter, who was wrongfully convicted for murder. “Isis” is another Dylan-Levy ballad that has endured in the nearly 50 years since the album was released.
According to Pitchfork, the lawsuit—filed by Levy’s widow, seeking $7.25 million—followed Dylan’s sale of his entire catalog to Universal Music Publishing in December 2020. The sale price, according to Forbes, was more than $300 million. At the time the suit was filed, Dylan’s attorney Orin Snyder said in a statement that the “lawsuit is a sad attempt to profit off of the recent catalog sale.” Following Friday’s decision, he stated the team is “pleased” with the decision.
Dylan recently celebrated his 80th birthday in May and announced that he’s set to release the next installment of his Bootleg Series, Vol. 16 on Sept. 17, which will feature outtakes, rehearsal recordings, and previously unreleased tracks that never made the cut.
On July 18, Dylan also returned to the stage for his first performance in a year and a half since the pandemic began. The now 80-year-old artist has not performed live since December 2019, with COVID-19 finally concluding his so-called Never Ending Tour. The show, Shadow Kingdom, was streamed virtually and featured “renditions of songs from his extensive and renowned body of work created especially for this event.”