Musicians’ Union Sues Over Use of “Simpsons” Tunes

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The Simpsons

The Simp­sons

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

[Via The Hol­ly­wood Reporter]

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About TammiToon

TT has been with the BCDB for a long time, and is the resident Hanna-Barbera expert. Tammi loves the old show, and keeps up with the nes ones, too. You can reach her here.


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