SEX PISTOLS frontman John Lydon (Johnny Rotten) has lost his legal battle over the right to use the band’s songs in an upcoming biopic miniseries based on the history of the notorious band.
“Pistol” is a six-episode series about SEX PISTOLS guitarist Steve Jones. It is based on Jones’s 2018 memoir “Lonely Boy: Tales From A Sex Pistol” and it is being helmed by Academy Award winner Danny Boyle, who serves as executive producer and director.
Steve Jones and former SEX PISTOLS drummer Paul Cook stated in court that they had signed an agreement with John Lydon which stated that all decisions regarding licensing could be decided on a “majority rules basis.”
Lydon stated that said agreement had not been applied since it was signed more than 20 years ago and that “all decisions” about the use of the SEX PISTOLS catalog and imagery had been decided by “unanimous” agreement.
Well it seems a judge has ruled that the contract was in fact valid and active, and that the majority of the band could overrule any individual member’s vote in opposition.
The judge, Sir Anthony Mann, also pointed out that Lydon “had actually signed away his power to control the use of music rights” to publishing and music companies such as Warner Chappell Music and BMG.
Lydon retained “only qualified rights of approval which could be overridden if he was being unreasonable”, the judge said.
“It may be that those companies, for their own reasons, chose to seek his permission from time to time, but ultimately they could act as they saw fit.”
In a joint statement after the ruling, Jones and Cook told the Press Association: “We welcome the court’s ruling in this case. It brings clarity to our decision-making and upholds the band members’ agreement on collective decision-making.
“It has not been a pleasant experience, but we believe it was necessary to allow us to move forward and hopefully work together in the future with better relations.”
“Pistol” was created by Craig Pearce and written by Pearce and Frank Cottrell Boyce.
Jones, Boyle and Pearce serve as executive producers alongside Gail Lyon, Anita Camarata, Tracey Seaward, Paul Lee, Hope Hartman and Wiip. “Pistol” is produced by FX Productions.