Spinal Tap Lawsuit: Judge Allows Fraud Claim

Spinal Tap Lawsuit
Categories: Criminal Law

In October 2016, the creators of the renowned mockumentary film “This Is Spinal Tap” initiated legal action against Vivendi S.A. and other defendants, alleging anticompetitive practices that deprived them of rightful profits. Fast forward to August 28th of the current year, U.S. District Judge Dolly Well, in the Central District of California, allowed the case to proceed, rejecting a motion to dismiss based on the economic loss doctrine.

Judge Well’s Rulings

Judge Well addressed two motions to dismiss filed by the defendants. The first motion, by Vivendi subsidiary General Music Group (UMG), aimed to dismiss claims from an amended complaint that included trademark and copyright claims. The second motion, filed by Studiocanal (another Vivendi subsidiary), sought the dismissal of the plaintiffs’ fraud claim.

UMG’s Motion

UMG argued that it was not a party to a 1982 agreement regarding compensation for the Spinal Tap creators, asserting that it couldn’t be held liable for breaching that contract. Judge Well granted UMG’s motion concerning the breach of contract claims but allowed the plaintiffs to amend their complaint to address deficiencies.

Studiocanal’s Motion

Studiocanal moved to dismiss the fraud claim under the economic loss doctrine, contending that the claims arose solely from the 1982 agreement. Judge Well ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, stating that the alleged fraudulent actions extended beyond the contractual obligations, allowing the fraud claim to proceed.

Copyright Inversion Claims

Studiocanal also sought to dismiss the plaintiffs’ claim for a declaratory judgment of copyright inversion regarding the Spinal Tap film. Judge Well denied this motion, emphasizing that the ongoing dispute warranted a declaratory judgment to clarify copyright interests and intellectual property rights.

Plaintiffs’ Response and Future Proceedings

Following Judge Well’s order, the Spinal Tap co-creators expressed satisfaction and confidence in their claims against Vivendi, Studiocanal, and others. They emphasized their right to pursue damages for breach of contract and fraud, including punitive damages. The creators also look forward to asserting their rights to recapture copyright interests and other intellectual property rights related to the Spinal Tap film and music.

In conclusion, the recent legal developments signal a positive turn for the Spinal Tap creators within the framework of Copyright Law, paving the way for a trial where they aim to present evidence that has, thus far, been allegedly concealed by Vivendi. This addition places a crucial emphasis on the copyright-related aspects of the case, underscoring the importance of intellectual property rights and potential infringements in the ongoing legal battle.