Spinal Tap Sues Vivendi For $125M In Profits. No, It's Not April Fool's Day!!
This Is Spinal Tap star Harry Shearer is suing Universal parent Vivendi for what he alleges is dramatic and deliberate under-payment of music royalties from the classic spoof rockumentary.
In a lawsuit filed at the Central District Court of California yesterday (October 17), Shearer accuses Vivendi of “fraudulent accounting for revenues from music copyrights” – through Universal – as well as mismanaging film and merchandising rights through UMG sister companies such as StudioCanal.
Shearer co-created the film, co-wrote the soundtrack and starred as the Spinal Tap band’s bassist, Derek Smalls.
He claims that between 1989 and 2006, total income from soundtrack music sales for the four creators of the film was reported by Vivendi as just $98.
And in addition, Smalls claims Vivendi reported that the four creators’ share of total worldwide merchandising income between 1984 and 2006 was $81.
“This is a simple issue of artists’ rights,” said Shearer. “It is stunning that after all this time, two cinema releases, all the various home-video format releases, all the records and CDs, and all the band-themed merchandise still widely available worldwide, the only people who haven’t shared Spinal Tap’s success are those who formed the band and created the film in the first place.”
The action seeks US$125M in compensatory and punitive damages.