Harry Shearer has penned an op-ed to “highlight the longstanding and improper accounting practices in the music and film industries.”
In 1984, director-actor Rob Reiner and comedians Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Harry Shearer (aka Mr. Burns) created seminal cult rock mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap.
In October, Shearer sued media firm Vivendi, which bought the rights to the film in 1989, for US$125 million in damages. Shearer sued for accounting misappropriation, fraud and breach of contract, claiming Vivendi did not properly share profits of This Is Spinal Tap and its soundtrack.
Shearer, who played Derek Smalls in the mockumentary, alleges he’s earned only US$81 in merchandising income and only $98 for his contributions to the soundtrack – that’s over 22 years!
Earlier this year, Shearer’s on and off-screen comrades joined the fold with Christopher Guest and Michael McKean boosting the size of the claim to US$400 million.
The suit itself is explained in great detail over on Fairness Rocks, a website Shearer created. But now, with an op-ed penned by Shearer for Rolling Stone in the US, the film and music industries are behooved to take notice of the case.
“If exposed, as our Spinal Tap lawsuit against Vivendi aims to do, fans will no doubt be horrified at the shameful gravy train that rolls for corporate rights holders at the expense of creators,” wrote Shearer.