“Spinal Tap,”the lawsuit

I have been in love with Christopher Guest’s movies, sort of forever. (I won’t call them “mockumentaries,” since I just read in the Times that he doesn’t like that word. And oh boy am I obedient to Guest since he is the finest contemporary satirist I can think of and I’d worship him if I had an ounce of worship spirit in me. Which I don’t, sorry Chris.)

And I’m looking forward to “Mascots,” his new film which is all about a Best In Show sort of competition in the quasi-profession consisting of people dressing up in fluffy costumes and cheering on teams. (Although I am perplexed about how I’m going to see “Mascots” since it’s being released by Netflix and some other company, and I get neither. It had better appear in a theater near me, soon.)

But not all is outrageously hilarious in Guest-land. Harry Shearer, a band member (Derek Smalls) and co-creator of “Spinal Tap,” is suing Vivendi, the media conglomerate which now owns the rights (I’m bolding a couple of lines here, to emphasize the reason Shearer is suing):

Last week, Shearer filed a lawsuit against Vivendi and one of its operatives, Ron Halpern, alleging that they have engaged in fraud and have committed breach of contract.  The suit also alleges that Vivendi did not properly protect the trademark “SPINAL TAP” (even allowing a beer company to trademark the name for use in connection with beer without any opposition from Vivendi). Apparently, Shearer’s patience did not “go to 11,” and he has had enough.  While Tap has been a huge hit and has spawned all sorts of merchandise since its original release, Vivendi claims that it has not made money. According to Vivendi, the four creators’ share of total worldwide merchandising income between 1984 and 2006 was roughly $81. Between 1989 and 2006 total income from music sales was $98 (ninety-eight) dollars. Over the past two years, Vivendi has failed to provide accounting statements at all.  Shearer’s response was to file the lawsuit, seeking $125,000,000 in compensatory and punitive damages.

Oh yeah? Oh yeah?

Here’s the whole piece about this lawsuit. The first couple of paragraphs are essentially a rave about the movie:

Source: SPINAL TAPPED OUT: Harry Shearer’s Lawsuit is No Laughing Matter | Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC – JDSupra

And here’s the Vanity Fair piece about the lawsuit, which has much better photos.

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