The Petty Archives

Suit accuses Petty of stealing song
The Free Lance-Star - March 3, 1990

LOS ANGELES -- A little-known songwriter has charged a lawsuit that singer Tom Petty copied the music for the song "Runnin' Down a Dream" from an album recorded 14 years ago by the songwriter.

The song appears on Petty's current hit album "Full Moon Fever," which has sold more than 3 million copies and earned a Grammy nomination for best album of 1989.

In a suit filed Wednesday in Los Angeles federal court, Martin Allen Fine of Marina de Rey claimed that "Runnin' Down a Dream" contained music "identical" to "Ascending," a song Fine said he wrote and recorded in 1976.

Besides Petty, the suit names rock musician Jeff Lynne and Mike Campbell, lead guitarist for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, as well as Warner Bros. Music Corp, MCA Records, Inc. and two other record companies.

In a joint statement, managers for Petty, Campbell and Lynne said the lawsuit is without merit.