The co-creators of the hit rock mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap; Harry Shearer, Rob Reiner, Michael McKean and Christopher Guest, have reached an undisclosed settlement with Vivendi and its StudioCanal division. Both parties are reportedly working on a long-form settlement agreement which includes “restructuring the parties’ relationship and modifying contracts pertaining to the picture’s distribution.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, both sides reportedly noted that settlement discussions involved the rights to Spinal Tap, the fictional band featured in the mockumentary and a monetary payment to the creators. A resolution for both parties also means that a judge will no longer have to decide whether the film was a work made-for-hire ineligible for copyright termination.
Reiner directed the film while Shearer, McKean and Guest all served as the fictional band’s members Derek Smalls, David St. Hubbins and Nigel Tufnel respectively. Prior to their inclusion in the film, the band originally appeared in a 1979 sketch comedy pilot for The T.V. Show, starring Rob Reiner. The band’s first studio album served as the soundtrack for the film, although this was followed by two more releases in 1992 and 2009.
Shearer sued the companies back in 2016, alleging that the creatives made only $81 in merchandising income and $98 in musical sales income. The plaintiffs demanded hundreds of millions in damages and sought to reclaim Spinal Tap by exercising termination rights under the Copyright Act. They eventually were able to pursue a fraud case and also settled with Universal Music over the rights to their soundtrack revenues.