News Segment

META LOAF’S “HELLISH” LAWSUIT:

June 6, 2006

For Meat Loaf, “You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth” is more than just a hit song–it’s a defense.

The rocker has filed suit against two members of his creative team, songwriter Jim Steinman and manager David Sonenberg, for more than $50 million over trademark rights to the phrase “Bat Out of Hell.”

The Grammy winner, whose real name is Michael Aday, filed the suit May 26 in Los Angeles federal district court, claiming that Steinman, who penned the epic song, wrongfully registered the phrase as his trademark in 1995.

The complaint argues that while Meat Loaf didn’t actually come up with the signature phrase, he has used it extensively for 29 career-spanning years, starting with the 1977 album Bat Out of Hell, and claims its legal association should be with him, not Steinman.

The suit further claims that the songwriter, who composed the majority of his former partner’s hits, including, per All Music Guide, “Two out of Three Ain’t Bad,” “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” and “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That),” registered the phrase as trademark “out of nowhere.”

Much like where it appears this lawsuit is coming from, more than 10 years after the fact.

Meat Loaf, though, claims he’s seeking to gain the trademark after a recent falling out with Steinman which threatens his professional use of the “bat out of hell” phrase.

“The contention is blackmail and a holdup,” the complaint read, claiming that Steinman and Sonenberg were interfering with distribution contracts by refusing to release the trademark rights.

According to Billboard, trouble started brewing between the men when Meat Loaf offered Steinman a writing and producing credit on his next album, Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster is Loose, due in October.

“Along with Jim’s lawyer, we had negotiated by far the best producer agreement we had ever seen,” the record’s exec producer Winston Simone told the music magazine. “Unfortunately, Jim decided not to sign the agreement or accept the very substantial advance.”

It was then, per Billboard, that Steinman and his reps, which included Sonenberg, approached the rocker’s labels Universal and Virgin, asserting his trademark ownership of the titular phrase and threatening to file a lawsuit of his own.

The suit claims Steinman and Sonenberg used their wrongfully held rights to the phrase “as the basis of a campaign to undermine and interfere with” various elements of Meat Loaf’s music, including concert tours, albums, recordings, videos and merchandise.

“Meat Loaf will not be bullied by anyone,” the singer’s lawyer, Louis “Skip” Miller, told Billboard. “He will continue to use the title Bat Out of Hell in any way he wants.”

The suit asks that the court determine which party should possess the phrase’s rights, along with the $50 million in damages.

Courtesy of www.eonline.com

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