The lawsuit targeting iconic 58-year-old composer Hans Zimmer over his score for Academy Award-winning film “12 Years a Slave” has been dismissed. Plaintiff Richard Friedman voluntarily withdrew his complaint Thursday and apologized Zimmer in a letter, according to the composer’s attorneys.
Much of the suit, filed in Los Angeles federal court last February, had already been dismissed by U.S. District Court Judge George King. The lone remaining claim of copyright infringement ultimately fell apart after discovery failed to show a link between Zimmer and the plaintiffs’ work.
“None of the defendants, including Mr. Zimmer, had access to Mr. Friedman’s work,” said Zimmer’s attorney Philip Kelly, a partner at Century City-based Kendall Brill & Kelly.
Kelly added that depositions of the plaintiff and his expert witness were “the nail in the coffin.”
Daniel L Germain of Encino-based Rosman & Germain who represented Friedman along with attorneys at Blecher Collins Pepperman & Joye, declined to comment beyond confirming the dismissal.
The Zimmer case is one of many music-related copyright infringement lawsuits filed in Los Angeles that have received attention in the wake of the “Blurred Lines” litigation, which resulted in a $5.4 million judgement for the estate and family of Marvin Gaye. That award has been appealed - opening briefs were filed with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals by attorneys for Robin Thicke, Pharrell and T.I. Tuesday - but a rash of lawsuit targeting musicians like Justin Bieber and Ed Sheeran have been filed by plaintiffs seeking similar results.
Kelly said Zimmer felt it was important to make a statement in his case that some of these actions are blatant - and damaging - attempts to exploit musicians.
“It was very hurtful for Mr. Zimmer to be accused of stealing someone else’s work,” Kelly said. “It was very important for him to fight these claims and make it known that people shouldn’t be bringing baseless copyright cases.”