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Soundtrack to 12 Years A Slave Faces Copyright Claim

Written by Michael Coyle on 31 January 2015

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Composer – Richard Friedman has alleged that the theme tune for Oscar winning 12 Years A Slave was copied by one of the biggest composers in Hollywood - Hans Zimmer. Richard Friedman claims that the critically acclaimed 2013 period piece was copied from his 2004 composition “To Our Fallen” which has featured in an episode of US drama Desperate Housewives. The piece he claims was produced in Hams Zimmer’s studio.

Legal proceedings have now been initiated on behalf of Richard Freidman by attorney Maxwell Blecher, and Hans Zimmer has been named in the lawsuit along with Twentieth century Fox Film Corp, Sony Music Entertainment Corp. and other companies that are connected to the Oscar-winning film.

The suits states: “the main theme…the music for the closing credits, and eleven of the other musical cues embodied in 12 Years A Slave…infringe plaintiff’s rights”, “but neither plaintiff, nor any other or entity in privity with plaintiff, has been asked by defendants, at any time, for permission”

The complaint also includes claims of moral rights. This is unusual as moral rights is a concept that is protected in some European countries but not the US.

Richard Friedman has commented that claims of ownership of the work by Hans Zimmer have violated his rights to be properly attributed to the work under French and German law.

The lawsuit is seeking damages and an injunction. Nobody was available to comment.

Written by Fozia Cheychi – A Work Experience Student



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