The Wu-Tang Clan has never been shy about flaunting their influences: from martial arts to La Cosa Nostra, chess and, of course, superhero comics. But member [artist id=”1215″]Ghostface Killah’s[/artist] love of one Marvel icon in particular, Iron Man, is putting the Shaolin rapper in some hot legal water.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, composer Jack Urbont is suing Sony Music Entertainment and Ghostface (born Dennis Coles) over claims the rapper illegally sampled his “Iron Man Theme” from the 1960s “The Marvel Super Heroes” TV show.
Ghostface, who named his 1996 solo debut Ironman, and whose many aliases include Ironman and the superhero’s alter ego, billionaire industrialist Tony Stark (which Ghostface spells Starks), has long had a fascination with the character. But Urbont claims in his suit that two songs on Ghostface’s second album, 2000’s Supreme Clientele copied “verbatim” the “Theme” he wrote for the show.
Urbont is an actor and Broadway producer who has also written theme music for everything from daytime soaps such as “General Hospital” to music for “That ’70s Show” and “The View.” The Reporter speculated that Urbont’s suit came so long after the album’s release because the composer “may have grown tired of seeing Killah’s name attached to his music on the Internet.”
The character has obviously gotten a much higher profile over the past few years thanks to the two “Iron Man” movies. In fact, one of Ghostface’s songs, “Slept on Tony with Dirt,” appeared in the 2008 “Iron Man” movie and the rapper appears in a deleted scene on the DVD version of the film.
The case is described as a typical copyright infringement claim, but the Reporter noted that Urbont’s lawyers also threw in an unfair competition claim. “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,” the allegation reads.
A spokesperson for the rapper had no comment on the lawsuit.