Multiple Rock Documentaries Slapped with Infringement Lawsuits

Multiple Rock Documentaries Slapped with Infringement Lawsuits

Photo by Nick Youngson

A set companies that control the rights to a slew popular songs are those that they accuse using some this music in documentaries without permission.

The plaintiffs in the case include the following:

  • Universal Music Group (UMG)
  • Polygram
  • Abkco Music

They artists such as:

  • The Rolling Stones
  • U2
  • Elton John
  • Nirvana
  • Lynard Skynard
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Abba

They are suing Coda Publishing, Vision Films and director Robert Carruthers. The suit insists that the nearly dozen music documentaries that the three have produced are just a means infringing on copyrighted material. The material in question includes some the most recognizable songs in modern music, such as:

  • “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”
  • “Dancing Queen”
  • “Smells Like Teen Spirit”
  • “Rocket Man”
  • “Free Bird”
  • “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”

The defendants’ films include:

  • The Rolling Stones – Their Satanic Majesties
  • The Rolling Stones – Big Hits
  • ABBA – the Gold Singles
  • U2 – Phenomenon – Part 2
  • Nirvana – The Path From Incesticide to In Utero
  • Nirvana – the Ultimate Review
  • Elton John – in Performance
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers – Behind the Music
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers – Phenomenon
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd – Rock Case Studies

In apparent response to the lawsuit, The Hollywood Reporter says that Amazon has withdrawn the films from their site.

Though the publication also says that a number the films are still available on Vimeo, either for rent or for sale.

Filed in the U.S. District Court’s Southern District New York on December 30, the suit is asking the court to declare that the defendants willfully infringed on their copyrights. They also want the defendants to destroy all the films and pay them statutory damages up to $150,000 per infraction. Alternatively, the plaintiffs would accept actual damages in addition to any prits that the defendants received from the films.