Songwriter Accuses Muse of Copyright Theft

Seeks $3.5 million in damages from Warner Music

Matthew Bellamy of Muse.
Steve Jennings/WireImage
September 11, 2012 3:40 PM ET

A songwriter has accused Muse of lifting his "cinematic science-fiction rock opera" idea for the "Exogenesis" song suite on their 2009 album Resistance, Courthouse News Service reports.

In a lawsuit filed in federal court in Manhattan, Charles Bollfrass seeks $3.5 million from Warner Music. Bollfrass contends he wrote a "cinematic science-fiction rock opera" called "Exogenesis" that he pitched to Muse and two other unnamed bands in 2005.

"The claim is complete nonsense, and is categorically denied," the band said in a statement from Warner. "It appears to be based on a 'screenplay' which the band never received or saw, produced by someone the band has never heard of. It speaks volumes that the album in question was released a full three years ago, and yet this is the first that has been heard of these groundless allegations."

Bollfrass claims his rock opera told the story of humanity's quest to save itself by exploring space as Earth breaks down. Muse's "Exogenesis" trilogy on Resistance "is the story of humanity coming to an end and everyone pinning their hopes on a group of astronauts who go out to explore space and spread humanity to another planet," according to the liner notes. Muse singer Matthew Bellamy is credited with writing "Exogenesis I," Exogenesis II" and "Exogenesis III."

Bollfrass also claims that Muse derived the cover image for Resistance from storyboards for his rock opera. His lawsuit against Warner, which released Resistance, alleges copyright infringement, unfair trade practices and unfair competition. Warner will "aggressively defend" the lawsuit, and the band "exploring what remedies may be available to them in the U.S. in relation to these untrue and baseless allegations."

Muse's new album, The 2nd Law, is due October 2nd.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“American Girl”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

More Song Stories entries »