Did Muse rip off a songwriter's science fiction rock opera?

Muse's 2009 album The Resistance won raves for its prog-rock storylines about humanity fleeing the Earth and exploring the galaxy. But did Muse come up with all of this space-rock-opera gold on their own? Songwriter Charles Bolfrass claims not.

In a newly filed lawsuit, Bolfrass says he conceived a "cinematic rock opera" called Exogenesis, and contacted the band Muse (along with two other unnamed bands) about providing the score. Muse turned him down — but then four years later, The Resitance included a three-song suite (called "Exogenesis I," "Exogenesis II" and "Exogenesis III") that copies the themes of Bolfrass' opera.

According to Courthouse News Service:

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.

Bolfrass' lawsuit quotes the liner notes to Muse's album, written by songwriter Matthew Bellamy, as describing the "Exogenesis" suite thusly:

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... 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.

Bolfrass also claims the cover of the Muse album is stolen from the storyboards of his rock opera. [Courthouse News Service, via NME]