The American Federation of Musicians (AFM) is suing both NBC Universal and 20th Century Fox for breach of a contract agreement for using the theme song to The Simpsons for a rollercoaster ride at Universal Studios Hollywood theme park.
Business Insider reports the AFM filed the complaint Oct. 2 in Los Angeles claiming the action breaches a former agreement originally made with Fox when the AFM initially recorded music for the sitcom. The Hollywood Reporter adds that Universal obtained the recording without giving AFM any notice.
"The producer agrees that all music sound track already recorded, or which will be recorded prior to the expiration of this Agreement, will not be used at any time for any purpose whatsoever except to accompany the picture for which the music sound track was originally prepared," an excerpt from the agreement reads.
NBC Universal is claiming the soundtrack usage is for purely promotional purposes.
The AFM is seeking damages for the musicians who recorded the music as well as injunctive relief. But another area of the agreement (Article 8) says no added compensation "shall be payable for the reuse of any portion of the music sound track of a motion picture in the following circumstances: (a) When used for promotional, trailer, news or review purposes."
In 2010, AFM, Fox and Universal entered into an agreement that included "a broad restriction on new uses" of music recorded for television programs.
But the AFM lawsuit claims that Universal's "use of music sound track from The Simpsons at its park does not fall within any of the new use exceptions enumerated in Article 8 of the Agreement and, thus, is not an authorized new use under the Agreement."
Although Fox did not comment on the lawsuit, a representative from Universal said "Universal Studios Hollywood denies the claims made by the American Federation of Musicians."
The Simpsons theme song was created by American composer Alf Clausen, who had previously worked on television shows such as Moonlighting and ALF before joining the animated series.