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McKean, Guest, Reiner Join Shearer In “Spinal Tap” Suit

Derek Smalls isn't fighting for Spinal Tap's royalties on his own anymore.

Actor/writer Harry Shearer, who played the bassist for the fictional hard rock band in the 1984 film This Is Spinal Tap, has been joined by co-creators Michael McKean and Christopher Guest and director Rob Reiner as plaintiffs in a lawsuit for royalties against Vivendi and StudioCanal.

Shearer's initial suit claimed that he and his cohorts were being cheated out of royalties from the film and related merchandise; With the three new parties involved, they're now claiming to be owned $400 million, a $275 million jump from Shearer's original lawsuit.

The four plaintiffs claim that they've received just $98 in music royalties and $81 in merchandising shares during the past few decades and have not received accounting statements since 2014.

The suit alleges that Vivendi is guilty of "anti-competitive and unfair business practices and has abandoned its obligations to enforce intellectual property rights."

Vivendi and StudioCanal have not responded yet to the amended complaint.


Gary Graff is an award-winning music journalist who not only covers music but has written books on Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.