The American Federation of Musicians sued 20th Century Fox and NBC Universal last week, objecting to the use of the recorded music soundtrack from The Simpsons in a series-based roller coaster attraction at Universal Studios Theme Park in Hollywood.
The lawsuit, filed in California federal court, charged that Universal obtained the recording without giving notice. The complaint cites Fox and Universal as parties to a 2010 agreement with the union which “include(s) a broad restriction on new uses” of music recorded for TV shows.
These songs, the suit contends, are to be used as “originally prepared” except for advertising, rehearsing, the enlightenment of company executives and certain other restricted purposes. Music that’s dubbed for recordings also provides for payment and credits, the lawsuit adds.
Said the complaint: “Universal’s use of music sound track from The Simpsons at its park does not fall within any of the new use exceptions enumerated in Article 8 of the Agreement and, thus, is not an authorized new use under the Agreement.” Fox claims that it has transferred some of its intellectual property rights in The Simpsons to Universal, according to the lawsuit.
The complaint says Universal claims that use of the soundtrack is for “promotional” purposes.
The AFM is suing Fox and Universal for breaking the labor agreement and wants relief in the form of an injunction. It also wants is asking for financial damages for the musicians who were hired to recording music for The Simpsons.
“Universal Studios Hollywood denies the claims made by the American Federation of Musicians. No other comment on pending litigation will be made,” said a Universal spokesperson.
Fox did not answer requests for comment.
The complaint can be viewed at www.hollywoodreporter.com/sites/default/files/custom/Documents/simpsons.pdf.