The Executive Committee of the Academy of Motion Pictures music branch has ruled that the score for The Dark Knight is disqualified because five names were listed as composers on the music cue sheet. What? Apparently this is a common practice done to ensure that the entire music team is financially rewarded. ASCAP and BMI use the names listed on the cue sheet to distribute royalties to composers.

The names listed include Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard and three other individuals — music editor Alex Gibson, ambient music designer Mel Wesson and composer Lorne Balfe. Variety reports that Gibson, Wesson and Balfe signed an affidavit stating that the score was primarily the work of Zimmer and Howard. But the committee also had documentation claiming that somewhere between 30% and 40% of the score was not authored by Zimmer and Howard. Batman Begins was also disqualified for similar reasons.

For about a month I was listening to The Dark Knight score on repeat. “Why So Serious” never fails to get me pumped up. It’s really a shame that the music is disqualified for the reasons given. I’m sure there might be a lot more to it, and the rules are there to protect the artists involved, but it seems to me that this is a case where the artists involved are being punished for not fitting into the cookie cutter mold.

The Dark Knight Soundtrack is still available for $12.99 on Amazon, but Warner Bros music is also releasing a two-CD special edition (now available for preorder for $45.49 on Amazon), which includes four bonus remix tracks and an 40 page hardbound book.

Discuss: What do you think of the Academy’s decision?

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