‘This Is Spinal Tap’ creators set up licensing body to exclusively manage film’s rights

It comes after settling a four-year legal battle with StudioCanal

The creators of This Is Spinal Tap have set up a licensing body to exclusively manage the cult film’s rights.

Rob Reiner, Harry Shearer, Christopher Guest and Michael McKean, creators of the iconic mockumentary, have set up a wholly-owned entity to manage the licensing of the film and all rights related to it.

It comes after the film’s creators settled their rights dispute with French media group Vivendi and its StudioCanal division, in which Shearer alleged in a 2016 suit that despite decades of cult success, the creatives had received just $81 in merchandising income and $98 in musical sales income to show for their work on the 1984 film.


The group alleged “Hollywood accounting” sins, Vivendi bungling trademark rights, and more. They demanded hundreds of millions in damages and hoped to reclaim Spinal Tap by exercising termination rights under the Copyright Act. Their original lawsuit sought $400 million in damages.

Taking effect from January 1, 2021, the much-beloved movie and all featured characters, trademarks and associated rights will be licensed via Authorized Spinal Tap LLC.

“Together, the four creators intend to ensure the film continues to be available for existing and future Spinal Tap fans for years to come,” a press release said.

It added: “Band members David St Hubbins, Nigel Tufnel and Derek Smalls were unavailable for comment.”

In 2019, the creators settled their legal dispute with Universal Music over the film’s soundtrack recordings.


Last year, the cast of This Is Spinal Tap reunited for a special screening and live performance to celebrate the classic rock mockumentary’s 35th anniversary – and Elvis Costello even made a surprise appearance.

Meanwhile, Spinal Tap bassist Harry Smalls has spoken about going solo from the spoof metal band and their missed opportunity at collecting royalties from Metallica.