Joel Osteen Sued By Musician Who Says Lakewood Using His Song Will Alienate People

Joel and Victoria Osteen and Lakewood Church have been sued by two songwriters over the church's use of a song called "Signaling Through the Flames" in TV ads.

Richard Cupolo and John Emanuele say they had a one-year licensing agreement with Lakewood but it expired and was not renewed. The ads continue to air, they say.

And the two, who perform as The American Dollar, no longer want the Lakewood connection, it seems.

"They don't want to be tied to a global televangelist for the rest of their careers, and a controversial one at that," their lawyer, Jarrett Ellzey, tells Hair Balls.

Says the suit:

Their musical styles consist of meditative and inspirational instrumentals much like that of a dramatic motion picture soundtrack....[Their publisher] Yesh is not affiliated with any religious groups or political organizations, and does not desire to have its music associated with Defendants. Instead, Yesh desires broad marketing of its music without compromising its artistic integrity or alienate its niche following.

The suit says the duo "view their music as unique and marketable to media outlets seeking enhancement of their message through use of inspirational tracts," and that they "have explored certain licensing opportunities for their music."

The song is used in ads for the DVD Supernatural, they say, which sounds pretty cult-y to us. The suit says the song "contributed to the success of the Defendant's DVD and other marketing campaigns for other products, and substantially increased revenues and profits" for the church.

Must be a pretty powerful song. The duo are asking $3 million in damages.

Ellzey says the duo's expired one-year agreement with Lakewood okayed the song for use in a streaming web video and in live performance, but not in any video of those live performances. (Their publisher told them they would market the song to a few large-venue churches, Ellzey says, but the two were unaware Lakewood would be one of them.)

"They have aspirations to market their music to Hollywood productions," he says, and don't want to be tagged as religious-music writers.

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