06 November 2019 12:32
After Receiving Just $98 in Soundtrack Royalties, the Creators of Spinal Tap Settle Their $400 Million Lawsuit Against Vivendi The creators of the legendary rock mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap have settled their dispute with Universal Music Group (UMG) parent Vivendi relating to the soundtrack of the film and related recordings. The film's creators include Harry Shearer, Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Rob Reiner. Under the terms of the agreement, UMG will continue to distribute recordings relating to This Is Spinal Tap. Though eventually these rights will return to the creators. Previously, it was reported that, between 1989 and 2006, they received only $98 in royalties from the soundtrack. In 2016, the four filed a broader $400 million lawsuit against UMG's parent Vivendi, alleging breach of contract, fraud and anti-competitive business practices against Studio Canal, which is another subsidiary of Vivendi.
This suit related to all intellectual properties related to the film, including merchandising, and would seem to be only partially resolved by the settlement. Like with music royalties, the creators of the film have received little in terms of merchandising royalty: $81 since 1984. Made with little budget, This Is Spinal Tap spawned the mockumentary genre and has been included in many lists of the greatest movies of all time. This includes the New York Times Guide to the Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made, Entertainment Weekly's 100 Greatest Movies of All Time and Total Film's the 100 Greatest Movies of All Time. In the decades after the film's release, hundreds of thousands of Spinal Tap recordings have sold around the world, and they are still available in both physical and digital formats.
The original complaint from the plaintiffs had stated that Vivendi had estimated the plaintiffs' share of Spinal Tap income at a mere $81 from merchandising between 1984 and 2016, plus $98 from music sales between 1989 and 2016. GET FOX BUSINESS ON THE GO BY CLICKING HERE "This Is Spinal Tap" is a pioneering example of the mock documentary, known for details including the deaths of drummers under bizarre circumstances and spectacular, over-the-top stage entrances that go wrong. Settlement not disclosed but 2016 lawsuit claiming 'fraudulent accounting' initially sought $125m and was increased to $400m Gimme Some Money - spoof rock band Spinal Tap once sang. Now after a three year battle with Universal Music the band's dreams have come true. Cult movie This Is Spinal Tap, a film about England's (fictional) loudest heavy metal band was a modest success when it was released in 1984 but has grown into a cult classic. Directed and co-written by Rob Reiner the film satirized awful behavior in the music industry and arguably launched the "mockumentary" genre with its depiction of a fake tour, featuring an accidentally tiny Stonehenge stage set, songs including Big Bottom and Sex Farm, and custom-made amplifiers that have volume knobs that go up to eleven. Harry Shearer, who played bassist Derek Smalls in the film and later voiced characters in The Simpsons, launched the lawsuit against Universal and Studio Canal, both owned by media conglomerate Vivendi, in 2016 claiming "fraudulent accounting" and "anti-competitive behaviour". He initially sought $125m in damages and claimed the "group" had been paid just $98 between 1989 and 2006 for royalties on soundtrack sales and $81 for merchandise between 1984 and 2006. The claim was increased to $400m after Shearer was joined in the suit by film-maker Christopher Guest, who played guitarist Nigel Tufnel; actor Michael McKean, who played singer David St Hubbins, and Reiner. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed and the suit over royalties from the film is ongoing. According to the settlement, Universal Music Group will continue to distribute Spinal Tap's music, although "eventually the rights will be given to the creators. The parties look forward to making these beloved recordings available to existing and new Spinal Tap fans for years to come."