Harry Shearer sues for fraud over profits from This is Spinal Tap18th Oct 16 | Entertainment News
Actor Harry Shearer is suing executives of company Vivendi for fraud over profits from cult 1984 movie This is Spinal Tap.
The 72-year-old filed a lawsuit at the Central District Court of California on Monday (17Oct16) against Vivendi, the parent company of French film company StudioCanal and Universal Music Group, accusing them of "fraudulent accounting for revenues from music copyrights" over the rock mockumentary comedy.
Shearer has also posted a video on Twitter to explain why he has taken legal action and set up a website called Fairnessrocks.com in which he states his case, shares a timeline of events and a copy the legal complaint.
"A movie I co-created, This is Spinal Tap, was released theatrically in 1984," he explains in the Twitter video. "You may know that, but you may not know that the band existed before the movie or a short film was made featuring the characters and a lot of the songs you're familiar with from Sex Farm to Stonehenge."
He claims his co-creators; Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, and Rob Reiner, had been told by film executives that their share of all merchandising income worldwide between 1984 and 2006 was only $81 ($66), and only $98 (£80) for soundtrack music sales between 1989 and 2006.
Shearer, known for voicing such characters as Mr Burns on The Simpsons, believes he is being denied profits because the movie was very popular and still benefits from TV reruns and DVD sales, for example, and he wants to be paid his fair share.
"For most of that time, according to Vivendi, it hasn't been profitable so today I filed a lawsuit against Vivendi and Vivendi's agents for fraud related to the movie This is Spinal Tap," he continued.
"Filing a claim like this one is neither fun nor easy.... I think it's important to challenge the status quo not just for myself but I hope for all my fellow artists, musicians and creators. After all, they depend for their livelihoods for a fair return for their hard work."
He also tweeted, "Creators should get #fairpay. If you want to know why I filed a lawsuit against @vivendi pls visit http://www.fairnessrocks.com #fairnessrocks."
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