Former Weezer bassist Matt Sharp has filed a lawsuit against the band over songwriting ownership. The suit — filed April 18th in United States District Court, Central District of California — charges his former band mates with breach of fiduciary duty, legal malpractice, and dissolution of partnership, declaratory relief and accounting under the copyright act.
In question are a number of the group’s biggest songs — including “Undone (The Sweater Song)” — from Weezer’s self-titled 1994 debut, which Sharp claims he co-wrote with Weezer vocalist Rivers Cuomo and drummer Pat Wilson. Sharp contends that he owns one-third interest in the song.
According to the suit, “Cuomo represented to plaintiff that he would receive compensation for his contribution to writing ‘Undone’ . . . on or about March 20, 1996, however, Cuomo claimed complete ownership in the copyright in and to ‘Undone.'” Sharp also claims to have co-authored a number of songs — “Tired of Sex,” “Getchoo,” “No Other One,” “Why Bother?,” “Across the Sea,” “El Scorcho,” “Pink Triangle,” “Falling for You” and “The Good Life” — from Weezer’s second album, Pinkerton, released in 1996.
The filing also stipulates that Sharp has yet to receive an accounting of songwriting royalties and received an e-mail from Cuomo on April 24, 2001 that read, “It’s [sic] looks like we’re gonna start making money again so we (you and I) had better get this thing squared away sooner rather than later so the money flows to all the right places without getting hitched up.”
Sharp was Weezer’s bassist until he made his side project, the Rentals, a full-time venture. He exited the band in February 1998, and was replaced by Mikey Welsh, who left the band last August. Weezer will release its fourth album, The Maladroit, with new bassist Scott Shiner, on May 14th.