It’s been more than a quarter-century since the X-Men animated series invaded small screens — and 22 years since it ended — but a new copyright-infringement suit appears to suggest that the entire X-Men universe that has exploded into the zeitgeist wouldn’t have happened if not for that series’ theme song.
A Florida man is suing Marvel, Disney’s Buena Vista Television, Amazon, Apple, Haim Saban and others, claiming that the X-Men toon’s theme song was ripped off from a 1980s Hungarian TV series. Zoltan Krisko says he represents Gyorgy Vukan, the late composer of the theme song from Linda, a “comedy thriller” that aired from 1984-91 in the former Soviet Union satellite. According to the suit filed today in the Southern District of New York (read it here), “a household name in Hungary and an entire country could identify the series through its iconic soundtrack.”
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Listen to the two theme songs below, and judge for yourself.
The suit says “the soundtrack of X-Men is widely regarded as the most iconic soundtrack of any animation series in the 1990s.” It claims that the X-Men theme song “is substantially similar to the theme song of Linda. It was the result of unauthorized copying of Vukan’s copyrighted work, with some minor alterations. … The subject, the tempo (pace), the harmonization and the sounding (instrumentation) is identical.”
Here’s the suit’s kicker: “The soundtrack of X-Men contributed in a substantial manner to the business success of the X-Men.” That, of course, includes the multibillion-dollar film franchise.
The series streams on Amazon Prime Video and is available at Apple’s iTunes Store, which is why those trillion-dollar companies are named as defendants. Warner Chappell Music, UMG Recordings and then-Saban Entertainment execs Ron Wasserman and Shuki Levy also are named in the suit, which demands a jury trial and seeks unspecified damages and further “reproducing or distributing the infringing work.”
Krisko, of Fort Lauderdale, is representing himself in the legal action. Here are the X-Men and Linda theme songs: