Toni Basil, best known for “Mickey”, her multi-million selling hit song from 1982, is suing a number of companies, claiming that they used her song without permission.
Disney, South Park, Viacom, and Forever 21 are among the major companies that have been named in her case, which was filed in Los Angeles on Thursday.
According to the suit, Basil only recently became aware that the song had been used in episodes of “South Park” and “RuPaul’s Drag Race” as well as in a Forever 21 ad. She was particularly offended that the Forever 21 campaign was in support of a line of Disney products, associating her song with Mickey Mouse.
Meanwhile, "South Park" used the track for the parody “Oh Obama, you’re so fine” back in 2008.
Since finding that her song was misused, the suit alleges that Basil has become “withdrawn, despondent, and physically ill,” and has experienced “sleep deprivation, nightmares, and anxiety.”
“Basil's brand and identity is intertwined with her song Mickey,” the court filing adds. “Basil is protective of her brand, and her signature song is known as a cheerleading anthem and an 80s one-hit wonder.”
These various companies “never sought or obtained consent from Basil for the use of her voice, persona and name” and Basil claims that a company called Razor & Tie Direct has been illegally licensing the song, without her permission, for decades.
The case details a long and complex history of the rights to the song. According to Variety, “The original label, Radialchoice Limited, was forced into liquidation in 1985. Basil contends that the numerous transfers of the “Mickey” rights, which began shortly before the liquidation, are invalid because she did not consent to them.”