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“Spinal Tap” Owners Demand Dismissal of $400 Million Lawsuit
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Michael McKean, Harry Shearer, and Christopher Guest in “This Is Spinal Tap.” Photo courtesy of Rolling Stone.

Summary: Media company Vivendi filed a motion to dismiss Harry Shearer’s $400 million “This Is Spinal Tap” lawsuit.

Vivendi is cranking their lawsuit up to an 11. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the owner of “This Is Spinal Tap” has fought back against the $400 lawsuit filed by the cult movie’s creators and stars. The media conglomerate asked for the lawsuit to be thrown out, stating that the plaintiffs have no rights to their work-for-hire material.

  
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Actor Harry Shearer filed a $400 million lawsuit against Vivendi, saying that the company owed him royalties for the 1984 movie. Earlier this month, his co-stars and the movie’s co-creators Christopher Guest and Michael McKean joined him as plaintiffs. The film’s director Rob Reiner also signed on.

On Tuesday, Vivendi offered Shearer a scathing “reality check.” The company said that the plaintiffs never requested a customary audit, which is standard for royalty disputes, and that they had previously waived the right to sue.

Vivendi also denied the plaintiff’s allegations that the company had defrauded them.

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“Plaintiffs may not like the fact that they have not received anything close to the $400 million in contingent compensation that their complaint absurdly claims they should have received,” the motion obtained by THR stated. “But that is only because the movie they made has not generated anywhere near the revenue necessary to pay them anything close to that sum. As a reality check on this lawsuit, even though Spinal Tap has garnered affection in the United States, it has generated U.S. theatrical revenue of under $5 million. Revenue from other sources and territories has been similarly modest.”

Attorney Peter Haviland who represents the plaintiffs said that Vivendi’s request for dismissal was “predictable.”



“Their motion does not dispute that Vivendi has paid virtually nothing to Harry Shearer, Rob Reiner, Christopher Guest, and Michael McKean for This Is Spinal Tap,” Haviland said. “Yet it asserts these co-creators have no legal right, or standing, to challenge this absurdity. We disagree. Shearer, Reiner, Guest, and McKean formed the group Spinal Tap Productions (STP). There’s no dispute that STP, also a plaintiff, has standing to proceed. Further the creators’ claims to intellectual property rights to the film and its music – both trademark and copyright – cannot be dismissed through this legal standing challenge from Vivendi.”

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

Do you agree with Vivendi or the plaintiffs? Let us know in the comments below.



 

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