The highly divisive yet extremely successful Swedish Heavy Metal/Hard Rock band, Ghost, just recently scored a small but critical victory in a Swedish court three weeks ago. The eccentric band was riding the wave of a meteoric rise due to their outfit being a warped and dark inversion of catholic despotism specifically with their lead singer Papa Emeritus, now Cardinal Copia, and the nameless ghouls all preaching psuedo-religious rhetoric in their songs. Although obviously a gimmick, their mixture of 80s bombastic arena rock with traditional Heavy Metal has earned them grammy awards here in the United States and in their home country.
The band seemed to stop at a screeching halt when in 2016 it experienced a massive exodus of all the Nameless Ghouls and only lead singer Cardinal Copia (Tobias Forge) was left. Former members revealed to be, Simon Söderberg, Mauro Rubino, Henrik Palm and Martin Hjertstedt filed suit against Forge for failure of payment after claiming they agreed that Ghost was joint company and they agreed to share the profits. According to their complaint, under Swedish law, “there are no formal requirements for the partnership agreement. The agreement can thus be written or oral concluded and may also arise through partners implied action, e.g. by the partners initiating cooperation.” The implication the Nameless Ghouls cite here is when the band in 2010 decided to release a record they made together through Rise Above Records. Ghost (The company) “was financed by payments from the group music concerts and revenue from merchandising. Operations have also been funded by means that would otherwise be part of royalties to the partners involved in recordings, but reinvested in operations.” The theory here is that the Nameless ghouls and Forge together, financed the daily machinations of Ghost. Forge’s defense was that they were simply hired guns, a theory similar to the Work For Hire doctrine of Copyright Law. In 100+ decision, the court determined that although the Forge and the Nameless Ghouls agreed to play together, that doesn’t necessarily constitute a business relationship. They also cited the testimony of another band member who stated that there was no financial breakdown of the earnings at all.
It is because of this and an amalgamation of facts that the Swedish District Court granted the Swedish legal equivalent of Summary Judgment in favor of Tobias Forge and dismissed the case. Overall, the suit didn’t seem to mitigate Ghost’s success all through this potential debacle because Tobias not just replaced the Nameless Ghouls but also released Ghost’s fourth studio album, “Prequelle,” to a good amount of acclaim. Ghost are also set to embark on their first Stadium tour near the end of the fall season with a date at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.