Sex Pistols singer Johnny Rotten loses UK judgment against bandmates over use of music in upcoming TV series

Sex Pistols singer Johnny Rotten loses UK judgment against bandmates over use of music in upcoming TV series

Sex Pistols frontman John Lydon’s request to bar the use of the band’s songs in an upcoming TV series was denied by a judge in Great Britain on Monday after Lydon was sued by former Pistols guitarist Steve Jones and drummer Paul Cook.

A British judge ruled that songs by punk trailblazers the Sex Pistols can be used in a forthcoming TV series despite the opposition of former frontman Lydon.

Lydon – also known as Johnny Rotten – tried to block the music’s use in a Disney-backed series titled, “Pistol,” which is based on a memoir by Jones and told the High Court last month that he “heart and soul” opposed the music’s use in a show he considered to be “nonsense.” 

He has previously expressed concerns the series will show him in a negative light.

Lydon argued that the songs could not be licensed without his consent, however, Cook and Jones claimed during the court hearings that an agreement originally set back in 1998 allowed for a majority decision.

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A British judge ruled Monday that songs by punk trailblazers the Sex Pistols can be used in a forthcoming TV series despite the opposition of former frontman John Lydon. 

A British judge ruled Monday that songs by punk trailblazers the Sex Pistols can be used in a forthcoming TV series despite the opposition of former frontman John Lydon.  ( Photo by CJ Rivera/FilmMagic)

Judge Anthony Mann of the British High Court sided with Cook and Jones and said the pair were entitled to invoke “majority voting rules” as outlined in the band agreement. 

He added that Lydon’s claim that he was not aware of the details or implications of the agreement that he had signed was “a convenient contrivance.”

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“I reject the suggestion made by him that he did not really know or appreciate its effect,” the judge said.

Cook and Jones welcomed the ruling. They said the court battle “has not been a pleasant experience, but we believe it was necessary to allow us to move forward and hopefully work together in the future with better relations.”

The Sex Pistols' surviving members most recently reunited for several concerts in 2008. John Lydon, pictured, is seen attending the BMI Awards at The Dorchester on October 15, 2013, in London, England. 

The Sex Pistols’ surviving members most recently reunited for several concerts in 2008. John Lydon, pictured, is seen attending the BMI Awards at The Dorchester on October 15, 2013, in London, England.  (Photo by Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images)

“Pistol” is being made for Disney subsidiary FX and is directed by Danny Boyle, the Academy Award-winning director of “Trainspotting” and “Slumdog Millionaire.”

Lydon’s lawyer, Mark Cunningham, previously said in written arguments that Jones’s memoir depicted the singer “in a hostile and unflattering light,” at one point describing Johnny Rotten as “the annoying little brat with the great bone structure who’s always asking for more.”

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Formed in London in 1975, the Sex Pistols energized and scandalized the British music scene with songs such as “God Save the Queen” and “Anarchy in the U.K.”

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The band split up in 1978 after releasing one album, and bassist Sid Vicious died the following year. The surviving members have reunited for several concerts, most recently in 2008.

Former members of the Sex Pistols, guitarist Steve Jones and drummer Paul Cook, are suing singer Johnny Rotten for the right to use the band’s songs in an upcoming television series ‘Pistol’ about the anarchic punk icons, based on a memoir by Jones.

Former members of the Sex Pistols, guitarist Steve Jones and drummer Paul Cook, are suing singer Johnny Rotten for the right to use the band’s songs in an upcoming television series ‘Pistol’ about the anarchic punk icons, based on a memoir by Jones. (AP, File)

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“Mr. Lydon has not shrunk from describing his difficult relationships with the other members — difficult in different ways with different members — and that has persisted even through their comeback tours in the 1990s and 2000s,” the judge said. “It persists today.”

The Associated Press contributed top this report.