”We all loved the movie,” said Washington investor Fred Schaufeld, who produced college rock concerts in the early 1980s at Lehigh University. “It was hilarious, meaningful and fun. It allowed our whole 80s culture to poke fun at ourselves and the overseriousness behind music stories.”
Shearer, also famous for his role in “The Right Stuff,” co-wrote Spinal Tap’s soundtrack.
Made for $2.25 million, Spinal Tap “has generated tens of millions of dollars in revenue” since its release, according to the lawsuit. Shearer says Vivendi failed to provide proper accounting of the music and merchandising rights that the film has produced.
The complaint, either intentionally or not, seems almost a fitting epilogue to Spinal Tap’s fictional travails. For example, Shearer, 72, claims that Vivendi, a Paris-based media conglomerate that began as a French water utility in 1853, paid the four creators a total of $81 (that’s not a typo) in worldwide commercial merchandising income between 1984 and 2006. The filing also claims Vivendi said music sales between 1989 and 2006 was $98 (not a typo, either).
“Vivendi has engaged and continues to engage in anti-competitive and unfair business practices and has abandoned its obligations to enforce intellectual property rights in ‘This Is Spinal Tap,’ unlawfully depriving plaintiff of substantial revenues,” Shearer said in his 17-page complaint, which was filed in a Los Angeles court on Monday.
Shearer, who plays bassist Derek Smalls, or his three Spinal Tap co-creators are seeking their rightful dues, according to the complaint.
“… the only people who haven’t shared Spinal Tap’s success are those who formed the band and created the film in the first place,” he said in the complaint.
A spokesman for Vivendi declined comment.