Rock documentaries about The Rolling Stones, U2 and Elton John face copyright lawsuit

The films could be destroyed

Music documentaries about the likes of Elton John, U2 and The Rolling Stones have been described as “nothing more than a delivery system for intentionally infringed materials” in a new lawsuit.

Companies that own rights to the hugely popular hits of the aforementioned artists have joined forces to sue the likes of UK firm Coda Publishing, distributor Vision Films and director Robert Carruthers.

According to the lawsuit, the likes of ABBA, Nirvana, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Red Hot Chili Peppers were also the subjects of documentaries which used protected music without prior permission.


Nirvana's Kurt Cobain
Kurt Cobain during the taping of Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged in 1993.

Among the films which allegedly infringe on the copyright are The Rolling Stones – Their Satanic Majesties, The Rolling Stones – Big Hits, ABBA – the Gold Singles, U2 — Phenomenon – Part 2, Nirvana — The Path From Incesticide to In Utero, Nirvana – the Ultimate Review, Elton John – in Performance, Red Hot Chili Peppers – Behind the Music, Red Hot Chili Peppers – Phenomenon and Lynyrd Skynyrd — Rock Case Studies.

The titles have been pulled from Amazon after the complaint was filed in New York federal court.

The lawsuit is asking the court to declare the defendants willfully infringed the copyrights, to order that all copies of the films be destroyed and to award statutory damages of up to $150,000 per infringement or actual damages plus the defendants’ profits.