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Monty Python stars in fresh royalties dispute

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May 20, 2014 | 5:05am EDT

The stars of the Monty Python comedy troupe are facing the threat of another costly legal battle over Spamalot royalties amid a financial dispute with funnyman Neil Innes. The British comedy veterans have become embroiled in a disagreement with their long-time collaborator Innes, who wrote a number of songs for Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the group's 1975 film which inspired the hit stage show. Innes, who had a brief cameo role in the movie, now claims he is owed royalty payments from Spamalot, and has aimed his frustrations at Monty Python member Eric Idle. He tells Britain's Daily Mail newspaper, "Eric is going to have to explain what happened to my royalties. He has gone too far. He went public in an interview saying anyone could have written those songs. It so happens I wrote them. Sorry Eric, the gloves are off. I am not being polite any more. I am supposed to be getting royalties, but something has happened to them and I want to find out what." Idle retorts, "Neil Innes is an old friend and a clever man... I have no idea why he is so upset and I wish him well" while the veteran funnyman's representative adds, "Eric has nothing to do with royalties or their distribution." The comedians lost a costly legal battle with the film's producer, Mark Forstater, last year (13) after he successfully argued that his involvement in the movie entitled him to a larger share of the proceeds from the stage show. Idle subsequently claimed the Pythons' substantial payout to Forstater had prompted them to embark on their upcoming reunion shows in London to recoup some cash.

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