Music brothers Robert and Aron Marderosian sue US figure skaters over copyright violation at Beijing Olympics

The USA's Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier competed in the Beijing Olympics team event's pairs short program.

Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier
Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier

Brothers Robert and Aron Marderosian, professionally known as Heavy Young Heathens, filed a lawsuit on Thursday. They stated that NBC, American Figure Skating, and figure skaters Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier are all subject to copyright violation by using their version of “House of the Rising Sun” at the 2022 Winter Olympics.

The brothers said this when Knierim and Frazier skated to their version of the traditional folk song without their permission, and also accused NBC of copyright infringement by broadcasting the same at Beijing 2022. Notably, the track was used in a trailer for the 2016 film “The Magnificent Seven” and a commercial for Ford Motor Co. The skating duo earlier used the song in their short program this month, in a performance that led to the USA’ silver medal in the team figure skating event.

“The track represents a very valuable licensing asset for Plaintiffs and is a signature song of theirs throughout the world,” according to the lawsuit.

No response yet from NBC, US Figure Skating, and the skaters

Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier finished second on podium at Beijing 2022
Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier finished second on podium at Beijing 2022

The Heavy Young Heathens’ music has previously appeared in some of the top TV shows like “The Simpsons,” ads for Starbucks, and trailers for Hollywood movies like “Deadpool,” the lawsuit stated. They have accused several other companies earlier as well of misusing their work, including allegations against Fox Sports, Discovery Inc., Monster Energy, and Warner Brothers in lawsuits that were later settled.

The musicians’ attorney (and father) Mick Marderosian of Marderosian & Cohen reckoned on Thursday that the skaters’ agent “basically refused to listen to our issue.” He also claimed that NBC has since removed posts promoting the performance.

On the other hand, NBC, US Figure Skating, and the skaters’ agent, David Baden of IMG, refrained from immediately responding to a request for comment.

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