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Songwriter-Singer Sues Milli Vanilli for Alleged Copyright Infringement

SAMUEL MAULLDecember 7, 1990

NEW YORK (AP) _ Pop posers Rob Pilatus and Fabrice Morvan of Milli Vanilli were stripped of their Grammy because they synched when they should have sang. Now they face a $120 million lawsuit for allegedly stealing music from the 1960s-era band Blood, Sweat and Tears.

Singer David Clayton-Thomas said in court papers filed Thursday that the melody of ″Spinning Wheel,″ which he wrote in 1968, was used without his permission on the Milli Vanilli album, ″Girl You Know It’s True.″

″This suit is about the song they didn’t write on the album they didn’t sing,″ said Clayton-Thomas’ lawyer, Robert Marcus. ″The words may change but the melody lingers on.″

Pilatus and Morvan were forced to give back a Grammy they won for best new artist after it was revealed they did not sing the album’s songs and were lip- synching the words in concerts.

At at news conference in Manhattan, Marcus played tapes of ″Spinning Wheel″ and the Milli Vanilli song ″All or Nothing.″ The lawyer said the melody lines of the choruses are identical.

The Milli Vanilli record does not credit Clayton-Thomas. On the album, group producer Frank Farian and two others are credited with writing the song.

The suit named Pilatus, Morvan, Farian and EMI Music Publishing Inc., which holds Clayton-Thomas’ music copyrights in trust.

EMI executive vice president Harold Rosenbloom did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

The whereabouts of Farian, Pilatus and Morvan were not immediately known. A call to Arista Records, where the album was recorded, was referred to lawyer Michael Pollock, who did not immediately return messages.

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