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. (Yes, ninety-eight dollars.)
In addition, he claims that Vivendi ‘asserts that the four creators’ share of total worldwide merchandising income between 1984 and 2006 was $81’.
“Vivendi and its subsidiaries – which own the rights to thousands and thousands of creative works – have, at least in our case, conducted blatantly unfair business practices,” Shearer continued.
“But I wouldn’t be surprised if our example were the tip of the iceberg. Though I’ve launched this lawsuit on my own, it is in reality a challenge to the company on behalf of all creators of popular films whose talent has not been fairly remunerated.
Schlock Mercenary: March 29, 2017
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