July 07, 2011 9:29am PT by Eriq Gardner
Ghostface Killah Sued By 'Iron Man' Composer for Copyright Infringement
A rapper's intense love of Iron Man is causing him legal trouble.
Hollywood composer Jack Urbont is suing Sony Music Entertainment and Ghostface Killah for illegally sampling his "Iron Man Theme," originally created for the 1960s television show, The Marvel Super Heroes.
Urbont is a veteran actor and producer on Broadway as well as the creator of theme music for Guiding Light, One Life to Live, General Hospital, as well as music for That 70's Show, Oprah, 20/20 and The View. He earned an Emmy for Lorne Greene's New Wilderness and won BMI's TV/Film Pioneer award in 1986.
Meanwhile, Ghostface Killah is a critically acclaimed hip hop artist and member of the Wu Tang Clan. He's also a huge fan of Iron Man, which is the title of his first album.
On his second album, "Supreme Clientele," Killah allegedly "copied verbatim" the Urbont-written "Iron Man Theme" on two tracks.
The album was released back in 2000 (way before the recent Jon Favreau-directed movies) and it's unclear why it took Urbont so long to sue. But he may have grown tired of seeing Killah's name attached to his music on the Internet.
Much of the case is a typical copyright infringement claim, but Urbont throws in an unusual unfair competition allegation that caught our attention.
According to the complaint: "Defendant Ghostface is also known for the nickname, 'Tony Starks,' which is a take-off of the name 'Tony Stark,' Iron Man's real name and true identity. In this way, Defendants' use of Urbont's 'Iron Man Theme' gives them a substantial commercial advantage by linking Ghostface to Iron Man without paying for it."
Alleged unlawful activity aggravated by use of nickname -- that's a new one.