John Lydon sued by the Sex Pistols for the band’s music appearing in the biographical series directed by Danny Boyle |


Steve Jones and Paul Cook, ex-Sex Pistols, sue John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotton) to get the band’s music to appear in Gun, an upcoming TV biopic about the punk band based on the memoir of Steve Jones.

Lydon refuses to grant permission to use the songs, having described the show as “disrespectful”.

A lawyer for Jones and Cook told a High Court judge in London on Thursday that the former bandmates had a “fragile and troubled” relationship. He cites, however, the terms of a band agreement reached in 1998. This sets out how decisions on license applications could be determined on the “basis of majority rules”. Lydon maintains that licenses to use the music cannot be granted without its express consent.

Lydon’s attorney, Mark Cunningham, said in written pleadings that Jones’s memoir portrayed the band’s singer “in a hostile and unflattering light”, describing him at one point as “the annoying little brat with the big bone structure that always asks for more”.

Gun is due to air next year and is directed by Danny Boyle. Boyle is known for many of his acclaimed films, from Trainspotting at 28 days later at Sunshine – he was even artistic director of the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics.

It’s unclear what the series will look like if permission can’t be granted for the use of the band’s songs, however, it wouldn’t be the first time a biopic has waived the use of its subject’s music. . For example, Jimi: Everything is on my side, did not use any Hendrix songs, as permission was denied to him by his estate.

More recently, Stardust, a biopic about David Bowie, was not sanctioned by Bowie’s estate and therefore did not have access to his catalog. For this and many other reasons, the film received critical acclaim upon release: its Rotten Tomatoes score sits at 21%. One reviewer wrote, “An unauthorized David Bowie biopic without the music begs the question, what’s the point?”


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