Eddie Van Halen Files Suit to Halt Sale of Unreleased Studio Footage
Eddie Van Halen filed a civil injunction Friday (Jan. 26) in an effort to block the sale of Van Halen footage shot at his 5150 studios beginning in 2006. The guitarist is suing based on copyright infringement and breach of contract, among other grounds, according to court documents.
Andrew Bennett, who claims to have been hired in both 2004 and 2006 by Van Halen to film the band's rehearsals, has put about an hour of video footage up for sale on his website for $500 a pop. In the trailer for the '5150 Vault,' which can be viewed below, Bennett writes, "For six months, from 2006-2007, when the band was without a singer, Eddie Van Halen, Alex Van Halen and Wolfgang Van Halen rehearsed twice a week at 5150. From Wolfgang's first rehearsal and for months after, each rehearsal was filmed and documented by a single camera."
Bennett says the band rehearsed a 19 song setlist, and that none of it has been released until now. The '5150 Vault' includes three songs in full along with candid moments filmed inside 5150. There is also audio of five tracks straight from the studio's board. He's also providing a 16x20 hi-res image of each bandmember. Only 500 copies of the '5150 Vault' are being put up for sale.
"In 2006 and in other years, Mr. Van Halen invited Defendant to film Mr. Van Halen and others including Mr. Van Halen’s son (Wolfgang) and brother (Alex) during their music rehearsals," reads the documents filed a California district court. "The intent at the time was to use the footage to make a long-form DVD or video project. Mr. Van Halen was not pleased with the Subject Material and it was never used commercially. Years later, Defendant threatened to release the Subject Material, and claimed that Mr. Van Halen never paid Defendant for his part in the project."
The documents go on to say the two parties came to a financial resolution in 2015, signing a "settlement and release," which required all the material - both video footage and audio files - to be given to Van Halen. A hard drive containing the materials were supposedly given to Van Halen, but is inoperable.
"Mr. Van Halen did not consent in writing, or otherwise, to Defendant’s use of Mr. Van Halen’s name, voice, photograph or likeness in connection with THE 5150 VAULT, on Defendant’s websites, or at all," the court documents continue.
Van Halen is also hoping to obtain the site domains Bennett has registered along with any actual damages and lost profits, in connection with the infringement of his existing copyrights. He is seeking an amount of $100,000 per domain name infringement and attorney’s fees, in connection with Bennett’s cyber-squatting. Van Halen has requested a trial by jury on all issues.
Bennett, who has also worked with Deftones and Nickelback among other high profile artists in the past, was interviewed on the most recent edition of the Dave & Dave Unchained Van Halen podcast where he discussed the circumstances of how the footage came together. He says he first was asked to film for an eight week period when the band reunited with Sammy Hagar in 2004 for three new songs which would appear on a best of compilation.
Bennett was tapped once again in 2006 when the group was rehearsing without a singer and was present when original frontman David Lee Roth rejoined for the 2007 rehearsals, although the vocalist did not wish to be filmed.
"I thought it was rough and that this tour was never gonna happen," Bennett says of the initial rehearsals with Roth. "I've been around enough bands to know when there's a vibe of it doesn't seem like anyone wants to be here, this is really uncomfortable. I think what kept Ed driven was one, his passion to play, and two, obviously, Wolfgang, to have his son in the band."
'5150 Vault' Trailer
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