The nearly decade-long David and Goliath battle between Andrew Lloyd Webber and obscure composer Ray Repp has reached the U.S. Supreme Court. On Oct. 5, the high court declined to dismiss Repp's suit against Webber, in which the unknown songwriter asserts the musical theatre titan stole the melody for the title theme of Phantom of the Opera from Repp's 1978 song "Till You."
Webber's lawyers argued that Repp's claim should be tossed out because the plaintiff could not prove Webber ever heard "Till You," according to Variety. The argument did not persuade, however, and the new trial will begin on Nov. 2 at Federal Court in Manhattan.
Repp, who hails from Baltimore, first sued Webber in 1990. Webber contended that he had knew nothing of "Till You." The battle took a strange turn when, after Webber listened to the tune, he countersued Repp, charging that Repp lifted "Till You" 's melody from "Close Every Door," a song from Webber's earlier work Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
In 1994, the Repp suit was dismissed, but the Webber countersuit was allowed to continue. That suit, however, was subsequently throw out by a lower court in 1996.
Last year, Repp's lawyers succeeded in having the dismissal of Repp's initial suit reversed, leading to the Supreme Court decision.