Rock Docs Accused of Infringing Iconic Hits in New Lawsuit

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The Rolling Stones, Elton John and U2 are just a few of the artists whose works are alleged to be infringed in a series of documentaries.

Nearly a dozen documentaries about music legends including The Rolling Stones, U2 and Elton John “are nothing more than a delivery system for intentionally infringed materials,” according to a new lawsuit. 

A group of companies that own the rights to some of the most popular songs of all time on Monday sued U.K.-based producer Coda Publishing, Marina del Rey-based distributor Vision Films, director Robert Carruthers and others. The suit alleges “purported documentaries” featuring those artists as well as ABBA, Nirvana, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Red Hot Chili Peppers used protected music without permission.

The allegedly infringing films are: The Rolling Stones – Their Satanic MajestiesThe Rolling Stones – Big HitsABBA – the Gold SinglesU2 – Phenomenon – Part 2Nirvana – The Path From Incesticide to In UteroNirvana – the Ultimate ReviewElton John – in PerformanceRed Hot Chili Peppers – Behind the MusicRed Hot Chili Peppers – Phenomenon; and Lynyrd Skynyrd – Rock Case Studies.

Amazon appears to have pulled the titles, but at the time of publication some of them were still available for rental or purchase though Vimeo.

The complaint, which was filed in New York federal court, asks 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.

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