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Randy Rhoads’ Family Launch Lawsuit Against Documentary Producers

John Livsey

The family and estate of the late Randy Rhoads – his mother Delores and siblings Kathryn and Kelle – are suing the authors of the Randy Rhoads coffee table book.

The collection was co-authored by Andrew Klein and rock writer Steven Rosen with the assistance of Peter Margolis and Denny Anderson. Upon seeing the finished product, the family was displeased at the fact that Klein and Margolis presented themselves as experts on the late, great Ozzy Osbourne guitarist, whose life was cut short at the height of his fame in 1982 in a plane crash; he was just 25. The family also does not appreciate the indication that the people behind the book had the approval and cooperation of the family.

Margolis has history with the Rhoads family, which is at the heart of the suit.

In April 2007, Margolis entered into an agreement with the Rhoads family to produce a documentary on the late guitarist, which was to be completed in period of three years.

Margolis himself did not own any of the ideas and materials obtained or created in the production of the documentary, nor did he own any of the photos, videos or sound recordings collected for use in it. The administration of such was assigned all of that to Dakota Films, the company financing and producing the documentary.

Margolis claimed the film was complete in early 2012, but it has never been released. Those who have seen it labeled it poorly edited and unprofessional. It was a particularly devastating blow for Delores, now in her nineties, as she has spent most of her life preserving her son’s legacy. It appears as though the family was snookered.

The family contends that Margolis and Klein have stolen the materials, of which they have no rights or ownership, from the failed documentary and used them in the book. The family emphasizes it did not authorize or participate in publication of the book and they have not want to engage in continued dealings with either man after the documentary debacle.

The book contains 50 photos used without permission, as well as other personal information that was approved and provided for the purposes of the documentary.

The family is essentially claiming that documentary materials were co-opted and then used in the book. The estate has filed a suit in Los Angeles against Margolis, Klein, the publishing company Velocity Publishing Group, Inc., and co-author Steven Rosen.

The defendants are alleged to having made extensive and unauthorized use of personal information and photos from that documentary project, and are accused of fraud, breach of contract, invasion of privacy, and misappropriation of rights of publicity.

There you have it. It seems that what started out as a documentary then failed, so the remaining assets were repurposed for a book, which was not part of the original deal.

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