As previously reported, Texas songwriter and musician James D. Papa is suing WWE, Michael “Hayes” Seitz and others for using and profiting from “Badstreet, USA” and other 1990s WCW Slamjam-era theme songs without his permission or giving him compensation. He also claims that WWE cost him money after THQ contacted him for using “Badstreet USA” for a Legends of Wrestlemania video game, only to instead use a “clone” version by Jim Johnston. He filed a motion in September 2013 to appeal decisions made against him in the lawsuit after having his attorneys replaced.
Papa said that he didn’t talk very much with his former attorneys and had “little of substance” from the legal team, even when rulings were made against him. He said that he wasn’t told that several defendants, including Seitz, were dismissed from the suit or that WWE tried to get the case moved to another jurisdiction from the state of Texas. The defendants were dismissd because the court ruled that Papa could not prove they had jurisidiction over them. They also dismissed his copyright infringement claim against all of the defendants.
After his case was initially dismissed, Papa replaced his lawyers and filed a new, altered complaint against Michael Seitz, Stephanie Music Publishing Inc and World Wrestling Entertainment, along with VE Newco LLC, the parent company of Vivendi Entertainment (distribution of WWE DVD and Blu-rays), Yukes (WWE video games) and Take-Two Interactive (who owns the WWE video game license after last year when THQ filed for bankruptcy).
WWE has once again denied any wrongdoing and claimed that since Papa “consented to use” of his music in WCW and WCCW broadcasts, the WWE would have the rights since they acquired the copyrights “lawfully”. They also said that the music in the World Class documentary would be “fair use” and that Papa did not have the copyright of the “clone song” that Johnston created so any claim against that song should be thrown out. They requested a jury trial, and a date has been set for March 23, 2015, unless a settlement is made.