‘This Is Spinal Tap’ co-creators resolve copyright dispute

The dispute was over the soundtrack's recordings

The creators of This Is Spinal Tap have settled their legal dispute over the film’s soundtrack recordings.

Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Rob Reiner formally joined fellow co-creator Harry Shearer in a $400 million (£320 million) fraud lawsuit back in 2017. Shearer, who portrayed Derek Smalls in the film and stars as multiple characters in The Simpsons, filed the original lawsuit in October 2016.

The co-creators have now come to an agreement with Universal Music Group, as Music Week report. As a result, UMG will continue to dispute Spinal Tap’s recordings and the creators will eventually be given the rights to the music.


Shearer said: “I must admit, from the moment we first began mediation with them to now, I’ve been impressed by UMG’s respect for creatives and their distinctive desire to seek a prompt and equitable solution to the issues.”

Guest added: “It was refreshing to be treated so constructively and with such courtesy by UMG and I’m pleased we have been able to resolve this.”

The initial complaint in 2016 alleged breach of contract, “fraudulent accounting” and “anti-competitive behaviour”. At the time, the co-creators of the film claimed that they had been denied “their rightful stake in the production’s profits” by Universal and Studio Canal, both of which are owned by Vivendi.

The case against Studio Canal and Ron Halpern (former Studio Canal senior executive) alleging breach of contract, fraud and anticompetitive business practices is ongoing.


Earlier this year, Spinal Tap reunited to mark the 35th anniversary of the music mockumentary. The celebration of the milestone featured a screening and Q&A in New York, before the group made their return to the stage for a live acoustic show.

This Is Spinal Tap, which was released in 1984 and became a cult classic, tells of the rise and fall of the fictional British hard rock band, Spinal Tap.