Los Angeles Band Claims Fox’s ‘Lucifer’ Stole Their Song
No copyright infringement case has much entertainment potential as a legal battle over a piece of music. The most famous of these, of course, is the lawsuit filed over Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” by the estate of guitarist Randy Wolfe. As Rolling Stone noted in their summary, the jury was not allowed to hear a recording of either track, instead being ordered to listen to a live performance of each song based on the original sheet music. The thought of a jury diligently taking legal notes while a Led Zeppelin cover band plays is enough to put me in my happy place.
So count me in for the impending legal battle over the soundtrack for the Fox television series Lucifer. According to The Wrap (via iO9), Warner Brothers Entertainment and composer Marco E. Beltrami are being sued by the members of Heavy Young Heathens over the illegal use of their music in the opening credits to the television series. The filing claims that Beltrami had approached Heavy Young Heathens to assist with the title song after several of tracks were rejected by the studio; the band agreed to provide Beltrami with a sample, provided that they retained rights to the song and an onscreen credit.
For comparison’s sake, here’s “Being Evil Has a Price,” the original track written by Heavy Young Heathens:
And here is the offending bit from the Lucifer opening credits:
Think they have a case? If anything, this seems straight-forward enough that Warner Brothers Entertainment will likely choose to settle out of court, depriving me of the enjoyment of reading court transcripts where professional musicians make guitar noises with their mouth to try and articulate why two tracks sound eerily similar. Regardless, here’s hoping that Heavy Young Heathens are able to get some measure of satisfaction for the work that they did. Hollywood is a competitive enough industry when things aren’t going your way; people should be able to enjoy the fruit of their successes when people get a lucky break.