Jan 6, 2017

Bieber & Usher Successful In Copyright Dispute

Justin Bieber and Usher will likely be celebrating today after being successful in a lawsuit which was launched against their song "Somebody to Love" that the pair released in 2010.

The $10 million lawsuit was filed by Devin Copeland (who performs as an R & B singer under the name De Rico) and Mareio Oberton in 2013. They alleged that they wrote the song in 2008 and that Justin Bieber and Usher later copied the song and released similar version citing themselves as the creators. Copeland said that this happened after Usher had expressed an interest in working with Copeland after hearing his music.

This case was initially dismissed by a district judge who agreed with Bieber and Usher that no reasonable jury would find that the pair's song was substantially similar to the one that Copeland created. Copeland appealed this decision and it was overruled in 2015. The appeal judges cited an identical rhythm and similar melody to the songs and said that the similarities were such that it should be for a jury to decide whether copying had taken place.

The final judgment in the proceedings came this week from a Federal Judge after Copeland elevated the claim to the Federal court system in 2015. The Federal Court dismissed Copeland's and Oberton's claim. The Court dismissed the claim on the basis that the similarities between both songs were not sufficient in order to pursue a lawsuit, essentially reaffirming the decision of the district judge.

When dismissing the claim the Court did so on a 'without prejudice' basis. This means that Copeland and Oberton will be unable to pursue their lawsuit any further.

This case adds further to the recent slew of cases concerning alleged copying of songs by famous artists and follows on the heels of a finding that Led Zepellin were not guilty of copying their famous song 'Stairway to Heaven'. Other cases, including one involving Ed Sheeran, remain to be resolved and it will be interesting to see whether this case has any impact on those.

Posted by: in: Copyright, News

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