Heavy Young Heathens: Music duo sues US figure skaters, and NBC over use of their song in Olympics
Heavy Young Heathens brothers Robert and Aron Marderosian filed a lawsuit on Thursday, February 17, alleging that NBC, US Figure Skating, and figure skaters Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier infringed on their copyrights by using their version of 'House of the Rising Sun' for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
Knierim and Frazier skated to their version of the traditional folk song, which was used in a teaser for the 2016 film 'The Magnificent Seven' and a Ford Motor Co commercial without the brothers' consent. The brothers also accused NBC of copyright infringement by broadcasting it. The skaters played the song in their short program earlier this month, which helped the US win silver in the team figure skating competition.
Brothers Aron and Robert Marderosian from Heavy Young Heathens are American films, film trailers, and television music composers. They are noted for their work on television shows such as 'Big Sky', 'Eastbound & Down', 'The Simpsons', 'The Righteous Gemstones', and 'Dead to Me', where they composed and performed music. They are well-known for their bold approach to producing, arranging, and recording music for movies, trailers, video games, and television.
According to the lawsuit, Heavy Young Heathens' music has appeared in TV shows such as 'The Simpsons', Starbucks advertisements, and movie trailers such as 'Deadpool'. They have previously accused other firms of exploiting their work in cases that were ultimately settled, including charges against Fox Sports, Discovery Inc., Monster Energy, and Warner Brothers.
USA’s 🇺🇸 Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier - the GP France 🥉 Great job 👏🏻 74.23— Golden Skate (@goldenskate) February 18, 2022
SP: “House of The Rising Sun” by Heavy Young Heathens#Olympics #Beijing2022 #FigureSkating
💬 https://t.co/4bOjIAUZCc pic.twitter.com/QXjkaw79dN
The Marderosian brothers claim they were never contacted by Knierim or Frazier, Team USA, or US Figure Skating about licensing the track for their performance, according to a lawsuit acquired by Reuters. They also claim that NBC, USA Network, and Peacock never investigated because it was shown on all of the outlets stated.
Mick Marderosian of Marderosian & Cohen, the group's lawyer and father, told Reuters on Thursday that the skater's agency "basically refused to listen to our issue." He further mentioned that since the lawsuit, NBC has taken down all of the performance's social media posts. A request for comment from NBC, US Figure Skating, and the skaters' representative, David Baden of IMG, was not immediately returned.