Roy Orbison Hologram at Center of New Legal Fight

Roy Orbison 1990 - Getty - H 2017
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Death didn't stop Tupac Shakur or Michael Jackson from performing — as holograms, that is — but the family of Roy Orbison says a dispute with a vendor is keeping a digital reincarnation of the singer offstage.

Suing as Roy's Boys, the late Rock & Roll Hall of Famer's sons claim Hologram USA failed to keep up its end of a deal for an Orbison hologram show and is now interfering with their efforts to create one with a new partner.

According to a complaint filed Monday in New York state court, Hologram USA approached Roy's Boys in 2014 about creating a 90-minute performance by an Orbison hologram. Under their deal, a prototype was to be delivered for review within nine months. By October 2016, Roy's Boys still hadn't seen one and sent Hologram USA a notice of termination.

This spring, Orbison's sons formed a new partnership with BASE Holograms, and in the fall, it announced tours in both the United Kingdom and Australia. Hologram USA wasn't thrilled.

"On November 7, 2017, Defendant's attorney, Barry Rothman, contacted Plaintiff's counsel in New York and advised that despite the termination letter having been sent well over a year ago, Defendants were now disputing such termination," writes Roy's Boys attorney Dorothy Weber in the complaint. "Mr. Rothman threatened to sue Plaintiffs and abruptly terminated the call."

Furthermore, Roy's Boys claims Hologram USA CEO Alki David also contacted BASE CEO Brian Becker and threatened to sue.

Rothman tells The Hollywood Reporter that that is still a possibility. "Our position is that the agreement is in full force and effect," he says, adding that Hologram USA will defend this action and will likely sue BASE for tortious interference.

According to Rothman, the agreement specified that Orbison's estate could not at any time communicate with a competitor and that any dispute was subject to a 21-day cure provision. He contends Roy's Boys unilaterally decided the agreement wasn't effective, and BASE took the estate's word for it.

Roy's Boys is asking the court for a declaration that its agreement with Hologram USA was properly terminated and for an injunction barring the company from using any Roy Orbison trademarks or intellectual property.