Donald Fagen Suing Walter Becker Estate For Steely Dan Name Rights

Donald Fagen Suing Walter Becker Estate For Steely Dan Name Rights

Share this article: The late Walter Becker (left) and Donald Fagen (far right) performing with Steely Dan in 2014.

Fagen is suing the estate of the group's late co-founder Walter Becker in Los Angeles Superior Court over the group's name and trademark. "This lawsuit is required for Steely Dan and Fagen to obtain a judicial determination that Becker's shares must be sold to Steely Dan pursuant to the express terms of the Buy/Sell Agreement, so that Steely Dan and Fagen can go on as contemplated and provided by the Buy/Sell Agreement". Essentially what that means is that in the event someone quit the band or died, Steely Dan as an entity purchases all of that members shares.

Donald Fagen Suing Walter Becker Estate For Steely Dan Name Rights

Four days after Becker's death in NY at age 67 from complications of esophageal cancer, his estate sent a letter to Fagen claiming that the 1972 agreement was no longer valid, according to the complaint, which also alleges the estate sought to give 50 percent ownership of the band to Becker's widow.

Shortly after Becker's death, his estate sought to appoint his widow as an officer of Steely Dan while demanding 50 percent ownership.

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The complaint alleges that by the 2010, only Becker and Fagen remained as signatories to the agreement. In Fagen's view, this move violates the 1972 agreement.

Donald Fagen is contending that he's not the bad guy in a new legal battle over ownership of Steely Dan. By 1975 Steely Dan was effectively a duo, with Becker and Fagen accompanied by session musicians. He is also seeking damages stemming from the "repudiation and breach" of the agreement.

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As the Hollywood Reporter detailed, Fagen is suing Becker's estate regarding a contract stipulation the pair signed in the early days of the classic rock band's career. While the suit does not name a specific dollar amount, it suggests it could be in excess of $1 million.

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