Richard Busch, the intellectual property lawyer who acted for the estate of Marvin Gaye in the "Blurred Lines" dispute, is now representing Irish band The Script in a claim against singer James Arthur.
The claim is that Arthur's 2016 hit "Say You Won't Let Go" is so similar to "The Man Who Can't Be Moved" that it infringes the latter's copyright. "Say You Won't Let Go" was a significant hit for Arthur, spending 52 weeks in the top 100 in the US, 3 weeks as number 1 in the UK, and has been streamed almost 1.5 billion times on Spotify and YouTube.
Arthur last year addressed allegations that he had "lifted" parts of The Script's song, saying "It's 2017, there's only seven notes in music. Every blues song sounds the … same". Both songs have the same tempo, meter and four-bar guitar intro, and have similar melodies and harmonic structures. You can listen to them yourself here and here.
Busch is set to argue that "Say You Won't Let Go" reignited Arthur's career after several years away from music following multiple public controversies. Those controversies that ultimately led to his record label Syco dropping him. It was a low point for Arthur following his X Factor win in 2012.
The Script have filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court. There will be many reasons for this, but chiefly among them will be the option to select a jury trial (which they have done). US juries are far more likely to find infringement than UK judges, and the damages sums they award are, on the whole, significantly higher.
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