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Henry Mancini Heirs Seek to Terminate EMI's Rights to 'Pink Panther' Music (Exclusive)

EMI Music could lose its grip on one of the most famous pieces of film music ever created -- "The Pink Panther Theme," written by the late Henry Mancini for the 1963 film.

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Late last month, Mancini's publishing company, Northridge Music Inc., controlled by the composer's heirs, filed a claim at the American Arbitration Association that seeks more than $1.35 million in unpaid "net profits" on music for The Pink Panther film. The heirs are also seeking punitive damages and want EMI's administration rights terminated due to alleged malfeasance and breach of fiduciary duty.

The Pink Panther was released by United Artists in 1963. The score was nominated the following year for an Oscar and the jazzy theme music also charted as one of the top songs that year and won three Grammy Awards. In the nearly 60 years since, the music has endured as one of the more popular tunes learned by young musicians and has been used by such acts as The Brian Setzer Orchestra and Guns N' Roses and in Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle and by Kim Kardashian in Dancing with the Stars.

Northridge is being represented by Todd Bonder at Rosenfeld, Meyer & Susman, who confirmed the arbitration filing.

A spokesperson for EMI Music Publishing, which acquired the music from United Artists many years ago, says in a statement that the parties couldn't agree on the merits of some of the claims, and, "As this is a private and confidential matter, the only comment EMI will make is that we believe that the arbitrator will reaffirm that our accountings and payments to Northridge are correct.”

Here's a look at Henry Mancini's "Pink Panther Theme"...

E-mail: eriq.gardner@thr.com

Twitter: @eriqgardner