Harry Shearer is suing entertainment group Vivendi claiming it has hidden profits from film

This is Spinal Tap

from him and others.

The 72-year-old actor is taking legal action against the mass media conglomerate accusing the company of creating a "fraudulent campaign" to hide revenue and deny profits from the cult 1984 musical comedy film.

In a video posted on Twitter, Shearer - who played Derek Smalls in the film - said: "Today, I have filed a lawsuit against Vivendi and Vivendi's agents for fraud related to the movie This is Spinal Tap. Filing a claim like this one is neither fun nor easy. Going up against a major multi-national [company] is not nearly as fun as playing too loud in Carnegie Hall.

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"But people who are squashed by major corporations can't fight back unless they have significant resources of their own. I'm incredibly fortunate to be able to fight back.

"I think it's important to challenge the status quo, not just for myself but for all my fellow artists, musicians and creators. After all, they depend, for their livelihoods, on a fair return for their hard work."

US actor and comedian Harry Shearer. Photo / AFP
US actor and comedian Harry Shearer. Photo / AFP

In the video, Shearer claims that Vivendi - who acquired the film in 1989 - reported a total merchandising income of just US$81 (NZ$112) for the 22 years between 1984 and 2006, and that total income from music sales was a mere US$98 (NZ$134).

The Simpsons voice actor said it was "stunning" that the only people unable to enjoy the film - which follows what life on the road is like for the fictional band rock band Spinal Tap - are the ones who put the work into it, and branded Vivendi's alleged practices as "blatantly unfair".

He said: "It is stunning that after all this time ... the only people who haven't shared Spinal Tap's success are those who formed the band and created the film in the first place.

"Vivendi and its subsidiaries have, at least in our case, conducted blatantly unfair business practices."

- Bang! Showbiz