LOS ANGELES – Someone else might have written the "Bat Out of Hell" song, but Meat Loaf claims he should be the only one to use the phrase in connection with music.
In a federal lawsuit dated May 26, the rocker, whose real name is Michael Aday, said the expression had been publicly associated with him since the 1977 release of his "Bat Out of Hell" album.
The suit claims defendant Jim Steinman, who wrote the original song of the same name, wrongly claims ownership of the phrase.
The album and its 1993 follow-up, "Bat Out of Hell II," sold 48 million copies worldwide, according to the suit.
The suit seeks damages of more than $50 million.
Steinman and Meat Loaf's manager, defendant David Sonenberg, have been trying to disrupt the October release of the third "Bat Out of Hell" album by telling the singer's distributors that Aday had no right to use the phrase, according to the suit.
"This contention is blackmail and a holdup," said the complaint, which claimed Steinman and Sonenberg have infringed Aday's trademark rights in the phrase, and are interfering with distribution contracts.
Steinman wrote and produced the second album, and would have produced the third, but he and Aday had a falling out, according the suit.
Attempts to reach Steinman and Sonenberg for comment after business hours Monday were unsuccessful