(CN) - Warner Music owes a songwriter $3.5 million after the band Muse ripped off his idea for a sci-fi rock opera about space travel after the demise of the planet earth, the songwriter claims in court.
Charles Bollfrass says in federal court in Manhattan that he wrote a "cinematic science-fiction rock opera" called "Exogenesis."
The opera tells the story of humanity's impending doom as the planet breaks down, and the exploration of space to spread human life to new planets. The protagonists of the story slowly realize that "their actions are merely part of a larger cycle they have been predestined to undertake," the complaint states.
In 2005, Bollfrass says he contacted the (nonparty) band Muse, and two other unnamed bands, to compose the score for "Exogenesis." The following year, Muse told him they were not interested in pursuing the project.
In 2009, Warner Music released Muse's album "The Resistance," which contained three sequential songs titled "Exogenesis I," "Exogenesis II" and "Exogenesis III."
The pieces were listed as having been written by Matthew Bellamy, the main songwriter for Muse.
"It is a story of humanity coming to an end and everyone pinning their hopes on a group of astronauts who go out to explore space and spread humanity to another planet," the liner notes allegedly state.
"Part 1 is a jaded acceptance that civilization will end. Part 2 is a desperate hope that sending the astronauts to find and populate other planets will be successful alongside the recognition that this is the last hope. Finally, Part 3 is when the astronauts realize that it is just one big cycle, and recognize that unless humanity can change it will happen all over again."
Bollfrass also claims the cover of "The Resistance" has an image that the band stole from the storyboards of his rock opera.
Bollfrass sued Warner Music Group for copyright infringement, unfair trade practices and unfair competition. He seeks $3.5 million in damages.
Bollfrass is represented by Robert Kleinman and Kerry O'Brien of Austin, Texas.