Songwriter Darius Paulk, acclaimed as the writer of VaShawn Mitchell’s runaway gospel hit “Nobody Greater,” along with EMI Christian Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment, has been named in a lawsuit filed in New York City by songwriter Travis Malloy, who claims to have had a part in writing the tune.
In court papers filed yesterday, Travis Malloy claims that he was not given proper co-writing credit and, as a result, cannot collect royalties earned from “Nobody Greater.” Malloy’s attorney, Christopher Brown, seems to be alleging that Darius Paulk cannot play or write music, and that Malloy put music to Paulk’s song.
VaShawn Mitchell, who recorded the tune and has received career-launching acclaim for it, is not named as a party to this lawsuit.
This one is just unfortunate, folks. The statute of limitations clearly hasn’t run, but my knee-jerk reaction is that if you noticed your name wasn’t in the liner notes when the album dropped in August of 2010, and you were okay then, be okay now.
But that’s not the legal answer. Legally, this has standing and is a meritorious claim.
One thing I do know– and as an attorney, I’m ALWAYS baffled when people don’t do this– if you leave a writing session without writing down writer percentages, you are asking for trouble. It’s like choosing not to have insurance– if nothing happens, you’ll probably be fine. But if something were to happen, you’ll never be able to go back and cover yourself. Once there’s a dispute, it’s too late.
Let’s pray that this gets resolved quickly and amicably. For our industry, the song is too powerful, too effective and too big to be tainted by impropriety.