Sex Pistols Spar Over Use of Music in Upcoming Danny Boyle-Directed Series ‘Pistol’

Sex Pistols - Credit: Anonymous/AP
Sex Pistols - Credit: Anonymous/AP

The surviving members of the Sex Pistols wound up in court over a dispute regarding the use of their music in the upcoming FX series, Pistol.

As ABC News reports, former guitarist Steve Jones and drummer Paul Cook sued frontman John Lydon (better known as Johnny Rotten) after he refused to grant FX permission to use the band’s music. Lydon has reportedly referred to the series — which is based on Jones’ 2018 memoir, Lonely Boy: Tales From a Sex Pistol — as “disrespectful.”

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During a court hearing Thursday, July 15th, Cook and Jones’ lawyer, Edmund Cullen, argued that a 1998 agreement gave band members the power to authorize licensing requests on a “majority rules basis.” To give them that majority, Cullen added that Cook and Jones have the backing of the band’s original bassist, Glen Matlock, as well as the estate of late bassist Sid Vicious.

Lydon’s lawyer, Mark Cunningham, meanwhile issued a written argument that objected to the musician’s depiction in Jones’ book, saying it presented him in a “hostile and unflattering light.” It also highlighted a description of Lydon as “the annoying little brat with the great bone structure who’s always asking for more.”

The lawyers for both sides did not immediately return Rolling Stone’s request for comment. FX declined a request to comment.

Pistol was announced earlier this year, with Oscar-winning filmmaker Danny Boyle tapped to direct and executive-produce the six-episode limited series. In April, Lydon made his thoughts about the series known in an interview with the Sunday Times, threatening legal action against what he considered an unauthorized show and stating, “I mean, they went to the point to hire an actor [Anson Boon] to play me but what’s the actor working on? Certainly not my character. It can’t go anywhere else [but court].”

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