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We live in such a hybrid world, that cross-cultural influences in music seem banal.
In July 2004, as a result of the publicity generated by Malan's Rolling Stone article and the subsequent filmed documentary, the song became the subject of a lawsuit between Solomon Linda's estate and Disney. Brought by the firm of noted South African copyright lawyer Owen Dean, the suit asserted that under the terms of the Imperial Copyright Act, in force in Britain, South Africa, and the Commonwealth Countries during the life of Solomon Linda, ownership of "Mbube" reverted to Linda's heirs 25 years after his death, thereby revoking all existing deals and requiring anyone using Linda's music in Commonwealth territories to negotiate new agreements with his estate. Dean stated that Linda's heirs had received less than one percent of the royalties due him from Abilene Music Publishers (and before them TRO/Folkways) and that Disney owed $1.6 million in royalties for the use of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" in the film and musical stage productions of The Lion King.  At the same time, The Richmond Organization began to pay $3,000 annually into Linda's estate. In February 2006, Linda's descendants reached a legal settlement with Abilene Music Publishers, who held the worldwide rights and had licensed the song to Disney, to place the earnings of the song in a trust.