THQ faces SmackDown music suit

New York musician claims publisher used one of his songs in last year's WWE grappling game without permission; demands at least $12 million in damages.

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THQ's World Wrestling Entertainment line of games is one of the company's staple franchises year in and year out, but it has also been the source of a number of lawsuits. The company is currently fighting a trademark-infringement case brought against it by the wrestler formerly known as The Ultimate Warrior and another from the WWE itself, which is seeking to have its game license agreement nullified.

Another legal tangle surrounding the popular series has sprung up, as last month a New York musician named Michael Tumbarello, formerly knows as "Vada," filed a civil suit against the publisher, charging that it used one of his songs in last year's SmackDown! vs. Raw 2006 without permission. Tumbarello claims that his performance of a song titled "King of the Mat" appears in the game in its entirety, and that THQ neither asked for nor was given permission to include the cut.

Tumbarello's suit says the musician notified THQ of his grievance in January of this year and demanded the publisher stop distributing the game to no avail. Now Tumbarello is seeking damages of no less than $3 million for copyright infringement, no less than $3 million each for misappropriation of property, violation of New York civil rights law, and one other charge referenced but not actually specified in the suit.

THQ representatives had not returned a request for comment as of press time. Attempts to contact Tumbarello's lawyer for clarification on the last charge were unsuccessful.

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