Edgar Wright‘s stylish Baby Driver has been one of the bigger box office success stories of the year, and with music playing an integral part in the story, its soundtrack has been an equally big deal, even driving up a trade in old-school iPods.
Unfortunately for Sony, Baby Driver‘s high profile has led to a copyright infringement suit from the son of one of the musical artists involved who claims that they did not get the proper clearance to use his father’s song in the film.
Per The Holllywood Reporter, the issue concerns the use of the song ‘Debora‘ by British rock band T. Rex. The band’s singer Marc Bolan died in 1977, and three years ago, his son Rolan Feld – an infant at the time of his death – brought a suit to reclaim the rights to his dad’s works.
He was ultimately successful in gaining the copyright to 144 songs, and claims that Sony, Media Rights Capital, Bambino Films and others behind Baby Driver used ‘Debora’ without going through the correct channels.
Feld filed a suit against the relevant parties late last with, and the complaint read:
Inexplicably, Defendants failed to obtain – or even seek – the permission of the composition’s U.S. copyright holder Rolan Feld. In the six weeks since Feld brought this infringement to Defendant Sony’s attention, Defendants have done little more than point fingers at one another — and they have neither [apologised] nor offered to pay Feld a reasonable license fee.
Feld, who is seeking disgorgement of profits and punitive damages, claims that he was contacted by at least one representative of Sony concerning the possibility of licensing the song for Baby Driver‘s soundtrack.
In other words, at least one division of Sony had no trouble determining Plaintiff was the rightful owner of the U.S. copyright in the composition. Plaintiff promptly informed Defendants (through communications with Sony) that the use of the Composition in the Film was [unauthorised].
Sony has not yet commented publicly on the suit, although director Edgar Wright has stated in interviews that the filmmakers worked with an “amazing” music clearance specialist who put in a good deal of legwork to get the appropriate permissions.