The producers of Whitney Houston’s biopic, I Wanna Dance with Somebody, are being sued by Sony Music Entertainment (SME) for not paying to use the late singer’s music in the film.


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Music Business Worldwide notes a California lawsuit stating Boston-based Anthem Films, NYBO Productions, and Los Angeles-based Black Label Media entered a licensing deal days before the film’s release. The filmmakers never paid the agreed licensing fees with the deal in place.

“Unlike other types of films, musical biopics by their nature require use of the subject musician’s music, as it is nearly impossible to explain the importance of a musician’s creative genius or unique style and talent without the use of the musician’s music,” the legal team states. “To date, Anthem has not paid the fees, or any portion of the fees, due under the agreements.”

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SME seeks unspecific damages, including potential profit loss, citing the producers’ “willful and deliberate infringement.”