Spinal Tap settle lawsuit over soundtrack royalties

Spinal Tap (Credit: Embassy Pictures)
Spinal Tap (Credit: Embassy Pictures)

Harry Shearer, Christopher Guest, Michael McKean – aka Derek Smalls, Nigel Tufnel and David St. Hubbins – have settled a lawsuit over royalties for the music of Spinal Tap.

Shearer, Guest, McKean and director Rob Reiner issued a $125 million lawsuit to Universal Music Group and Studiocanal in 2016, claiming that they'd been underpaid royalties, and were seeking to reclaim the copyright to the famous mockumentary movie This Is Spinal Tap and the music that spawned from it.

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Shearer, who was the first to sue, and was later joined by Guest, McKean and Reiner, took aim at UMG parent company Vivendi in his initial remarks, accusing them of underreporting profits in the tens of millions.

“The scale and persistence of fraudulent misrepresentation by Vivendi and its agents to us is breathtaking in its audacity,” he said at the time.

“It’s emerging that Vivendi has, over decades, utterly failed as guardian of the Spinal Tap brand – a truer case of life imitating our art would be hard to find.”

Christopher Guest, from left, Harry Shearer, Michael McKean and Rob Reiner attend the 35th anniversary screening for "This is Spinal Tap" during the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival at the Beacon Theatre on Saturday, April 27, 2019, in New York. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP)
Christopher Guest Harry Shearer, Michael McKean and Rob Reiner attend the 35th anniversary screening for This is Spinal Tap (Credit: Andy Kropa/Invision/AP)

However, now it appears that the situation has been resolved, and though figures have not been mentioned, UMG will continue to handle Spinal Tap's recordings in the future.

“The parties look forward to making these beloved recordings available to existing and new Spinal Tap fans for years to come,” read an announcement.

Shearer added: “I must admit, from the moment we first began mediation with them to now, I’ve been impressed by UMG’s respect for creatives and their distinctive desire to seek a prompt and equitable solution to the issues.”

Guest added: “It was refreshing to be treated so constructively and with such courtesy by UMG and I’m pleased we have been able to resolve this.”

The 1984 movie is regarded as one of the most beloved comedies of all time, with the fictional band having toured ever since, most recently in 2009.