FOX and Universal Sued Over Simpsons Theme Park Ride

Via: The Simpsons Wikia


I’ll admit that legal matters tend to make my ears prick up for reasons that are still not entirely clear but I couldn’t help but be slightly amused when I read this story. A few years ago, both FOX and Universal were full on beating the drum about the opening of a Simpsons themed ride at one of the latter’s theme parks. Fast forward to 2012 and both are being sued over the same ride, but from a rather amusing source; a musician’s union.

Why even blog about this? Well a case like this would barely register on most people’s radar but is just another sign that you can never take anything in entertainment for granted.

Now on the surface, this is simply interesting from the point of view that it’s the musicians as opposed to anyone else trying to make a grab for some dough however thanks to the Simpsons’ music editor Chris Ledesma and his blog explaining everything in plain English, I know that even the music in the entertainment industry is far from simple.

Yup, thanks to Chris’ Music Editing 101 series and in particular his posts on music clearing and re-use, I (and now you) know that acquiring music for an animated TV show is a far from straightforward procedure. There are all sorts of clearances, rights and so forth to request, acquire and process before anything can make it to air. After that you can’t simply use a piece of music you already have; there are all kinds of rules about that.

It’s all dreadfully complicated and perhaps proof that no-one in Hollywood really trusts each other, but it does make for entertaining reading when the musician’s union goes after the hand that feeds them when it comes to a roller coaster.

The crux of the issue is that FOX apparently used music from the series in the ride but that violates a clause in the current contract that was signed in 2010. Seeing as how the ride was already in operation before that, I can’t see how it can be infringing. That said, I also can’t see how it took 2 years to get around to filing a lawsuit but then again I’m an engineer and prone to crippling logicality and common sense.

So consider this yet another aspect to modern animation production that could come back to bite you in the end, and remember, you don’t have to have roller coaster to get sued.

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