A former Reno man has filed a federal civil rights complaint in Reno asking the music artist Sting to pay him $3.5 billion in royalties for the songs “Roxanne” and “Message in a Bottle” claiming the songs were based on his life experiences. Roy Daniel Clyde Smith, of Nampa, Idaho filed the breach of contract complaint last week against Gordon Matthew Sumner, whose professional name is Sting, who was also a member of the popular band The Police. Sting’s attorneys in court papers denies Smith’s claims, and say that according to his management records, neither he nor his drummer Stewart Copeland, who is also named in the complaint, were in Reno when Smith said he met them in 1977 or 1978. Smith claimed he met Sting and Copeland when he was a cook at Molly’s Garden Restaurant inside Fitzgerald’s Casino, that recently closed. He said he went to Sting’s home on Locust Street and during the course of drinking beer and playing bumper pool, he told him about writing messages in a bottle and throwing them into the ocean so his mother could find him, and then his experiences with a prostitute named Roxanne. “When we parted company on Sunday about mid-day, you told me that if the two songs did any good that you would pay me royalties,” Smith wrote Sting in a 2007 letter sent to his agent. Contacted Monday morning Smith, who said he moved back to Reno, said he did not want to comment.


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