Friday, September 7th 2012
When Muse released their fifth record The Resistance in 2009, much hype was made over Exogenesis, the band’s so-called “15-minute space rock opera,” which was backed by a full orchestral arrangement and included a lyrics about mankind colonizing other planets. Now, three years after the album came out, a man named Charles Bollfrass is suing Warner Music Group and the band for allegedly ripping off that concept from him, and asking $3.5 million for it.
According to Entertainment Law Digest, the federal court complaint filed by Mr. Bolfrass states that he originally wrote a ”cinematic science-fiction rock opera” titled “Exogenesis” back in 2005, its plot speaking about mankind spreading human life to other planets in order to survive. Not only that, but he claims to have actually contacted Muse to compose the score for the piece – a request that was denied the following year. As history shows, the band went on to record and release their own symphonic piece Exogenesis years later, with such lyrics as: “Spread our codes to the stars / You must rescue us all / [...] Let’s start over again.” The three parts of the song can be heard below:
Muse’s main composer Matt Bellamy started hinting at a symphonic piece back in 2007, saying that it was “too progressive” to fit their 2006 record Black Holes & Revelations. Regardless of when he had the idea for the composition, a minimum amount of research shows that the concept of mankind spreading over to other planets doesn’t really belong to Mr. Bellamy, or even Mr. Bollfrass.
As 2 minutes in Google will tell you, space colonization is a pretty old and predictable idea, as well as the concept of life traveling through the Universe – aka Panspermia, which Matt Bellamy himself mentioned was the main plot point behind Exogenesis. We find it very hard for Mr. Bollfrass to have any evidence proving that Muse actually “stole” the concept for Exogenesis, as he would first have to prove that he originated (or even inspired) the idea. Hell, not even the song’s title is original to either part.
The one part where the story sounds a bit more believable is where the plaintiff claims that the cover art for The Resistance was stolen from one of his storyboards for Exogenesis, although said image has yet to be shown. Then again, one look at the timeline surrounding the lawsuit makes it all sound ridiculous again: the record came out three years ago. Why wait until now? Why wait until Muse were just about to release an album, had the official theme to the Olympics, and grabbed the internet’s collective attention with their dubstepgate? Who knows, right? Of course, whether Mr. Bollfrass gets anything from Warner remains to be seen, and might even be another interesting chapter in the shitstorm that intellectual property litigation tends to be.