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'Spinal Tap' Creators Settle Rights Dispute With StudioCanal

Spinal Tap
Aaron Rapoport/Corbis via Getty Images

Spinal Tap

This is Spinal Tap co-creators Harry Shearer, Rob Reiner, Michael McKean and Christopher Guest have got a deal that could potentially revive the franchise. On Friday, attorneys for the group as well as Vivendi and its StudioCanal division told a California federal court that they had finally achieved settlement.

Shearer sued back in 2016 with the headline-making allegation that despite decades of cult success, the creatives had just $81 in merchandising income and $98 in musical sales income to show for their work on the 1984 rockumentary. They alleged "Hollywood accounting" sins, Vivendi bungling trademark rights, and more. The four demanded hundreds of millions in damages plus hoped to reclaim Spinal Tap by exercising termination rights under the Copyright Act.

The plaintiffs had some bumps in the road, but ultimately, they were given the green light to pursue a fraud claim. They also settled with Universal Music over revenue from the soundtrack.

Now, an even greater prize is at hand. A resolution will avoid the judge having to decide whether or not Spinal Tap was a work made-for-hire ineligible for copyright termination.

In a status report to the judge, the parties say they reached agreement on Thursday and will be preparing a long-form settlement agreement that will include "restructuring the parties' relationship and modifying contracts pertaining to the picture’s distribution."

Previously, the sides had noted that settlement discussions also involved rights to Spinal Tap and a monetary payment to the creators. An insurer appears to be picking up the tab for that.

This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.