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Music Trivia -> Song Lawsuits -> Index

Songs that have resulted in lawsuits, either for lyrics or for borrowing too much of the music.

Other Pages: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z Misc.

Latest Entries

The 20 most recent entries are listed below. There are 64 entries in this section.

"Revolution," The Beatles
In 1987, "Revolution" became the first Beatles recording to be licensed for use in a television commercial. Nike paid $500,000 for the right to use the song for one year, split between recording owner Capitol-EMI and song publisher ATV Music Publishing (owned by Michael Jackson). Commercials using the song started airing in March 1987.

The three surviving Beatles, through their record company Apple, filed in July 1987 objecting to Nike's use of the song. The suit was aimed at Nike, its advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy, and Capitol-EMI Records. Capitol-EMI said the lawsuit was groundless because they had licensed the use of "Revolution" with the "active support and encouragement of Yoko Ono Lennon, a shareholder and director of Apple." Ono had expressed approval when the commercial was released, saying the commercial "is making John's music accessible to a new generation".

The "Revolution" lawsuit and others involving the Beatles and EMI were settled out of court in 1989, with the terms kept secret. The financial website TheStreet.com included the Nike "Revolution" advertisement campaigh in its list of the 100 key business events of the 20th century, as it helped "commodify dissent". Source: Wikipedia.org
Isac
"Best I Ever Had," Drake
In a lawsuit filed June 24th, 2010, Playboy Enterprises sued Drake for copyright infringement by over alligations that his breakout smash "Best I Ever Had" sampled "Fallin' in Love" by Hamilton Joe, Frank & Reynolds, without attribution or permission.

The suit names Drake, as well as Cash Money Records and Universal Music Group, and asserts that Playboy "has suffered, and will continue to suffer irreparable injury" from the alleged infringement. The lawsuit demands that "all infringing works be recalled and destroyed."

As part of its claim, Playboy also alleges that "each defendant either knew, or should have reasonably known, that the sound recording was protected by copyright." Source: Wikipedia.org
Isac
"Various songs," Poison
In 2011, Poison were sued by a now-forgotten Glam Metal group called Kid Rocker who claimed Poison guitarist CC Deville had stolen their guitar riffs, specifically the songs "Cry Tough", Talk Dirty To Me", "Fallen Angel", and "Ride The Wind". CC had played with that band very briefly prior to joining Poison, but as far as I know, he kept his royalties...
GlamRockNinjaLord
"Only Want To Be With You ," Hootie And The Blowfish
A tribute to Bob Dylan - NOT!. A lyric line describes "on a little Dylan." The verse then references three songs on Bob Dylan's 1974 Blood on the Tracks album. The lyric "sittin' on a fence" quotes Dylan's "You're a Big Girl Now." The song then references and quotes extensively from the next song on the album, Dylan's "Idiot Wind". The song then mentions Dylan's "Tangled up in Blue."However, Dylan felt that the references to his lyrics infringed on his original work, and he was not impressed by it.. He slapped a lawsuit on these hosers for stealing lyrics from his songs, and ended up getting a big settlement. But then again, since does any of Hootie's music have an ounce of originality anyway? That stuff is bland and pedestrian. You'd get better poetry from reading the label on a can of peaches.
Hootie Pootie Poo Pah Pah!
"Running On Empty," Jackson Browne
In 2008 the US Presidential Elections were on, and for a change both the Democratic and Republican candidates - John McCain and Barack Obama - showed to be quite likable and were running their campaigns in a civilized, clean and occasionally humorous way. Whoever won the election was going to have to tackle the problems leftover from the Clinton and W administrations, as well as the rancid atmosphere of neglect and corruption. However, supporters of both candidates were spreading the most extremely ridiculous rumors and lies about their champion's opponent. Also, as usual the candidates at their rallies would often have popular songs piped in, and candidates of all parties in every election campaign have been guilty of this. Bruce Springsteen has sent C + D (Cease + Desist) letters to Republican AND Democratic candidates many many times directing them to stop using his music for political campaigning. 2008 was no exception. That year the McCain camp was getting noted for receiving many such notices, from artists and bands including Van Halen, Heart, Billy Joel, John Cougar Mellencamp and others. Jackson Browne slapped a lawsuit on McCain for using the phrase "Running On Empty" at a rally stop. Sending a C + D notice wasn't enough, no? Yeah yeah, we know that Jackson Browne is part of a musical crowd is "dyed-in-the-wool" Democratic Party no matter what, but come ON - isn't this a bit extreme measure to take?
Nonpartisan Indie Man
"The Old Man Down The Road," John Fogerty
The Fantasy Records label's tyrant, the evil Saul Zaentz, claimed (falsely!) that "The Old Man Down The Road," from John Fogerty's album "Centerfield," shared too much of its refrain with "Run Through The Jungle," one of Fogerty's selections as leader of Creedence Clearwater Revival, to which Zaentz had bullied Fogerty into forfeiting the copyright as a condition of releasing him from his label contract. Zaentz litigated against Fogerty, in a petition titled "Fantasy Incorporated V. Fogerty," but Fogerty won that case. Fogerty then cross-petitioned against Zaentz, seeking the costs of his successful defense against Fantasy Incorporated's original petition; in 1993, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned lower-court rulings, and Fogerty won outright.
Parker Gabriel
"Their Entire Song Library," Mark Holmes (Platinum Blonde)
I don't know the specific details but Sony/BMG branch was caught up in a payola scandal so Mark went after them for control of Platinum Blonde's music catalog.
Celeste
"How Many More Times," Led Zeppelin
This song, from Led Zeppelin's first LP (1969) is a total ripoff of Howlin' Wolf's No Place To Go. Wolf sued and eventually won, belatedly getting his songwriting royalties. Zeppelin later stole credit for a Willie Dixon song on their second album. They were a great band but that doesn't excuse this kind of theft.
Jeffrey
"Everywhere," Tim McGraw
In 2007, songwriter James Martinez filed a $20 million dollar lawsuit against McGraw, Reid and Wiseman. The suit alleges that the singer lifted “Everywhere” from a tape containing Martinez' original track "Anytime, Anywhere Amanda." Martinez provided the tape to the same songwriters who wrote the song "Everywhere" for McGraw's 1997 album of the same name. The suit alleges that McGraw and other defendants internationally released and distributed the “Everywhere” album containing their infringing copies of a song substantially similar to the Martinez's song. McGraw's attorneys stated that they are confident the case will be dismissed altogether, and described the allegations as being "totally without merit."
harderman
"I Feel Like Dying," Lil Wayne
Lil Wayne used a sample of Karma's "Once" without permission even though it was never on any profitted release.
Mitchell
"Snoopy vs. The Red Baron," The Royal Guardsmen
Though Charles Schulz of "Peanuts" fame let The Royal Guardsmen make more songs about Snoopy, he and United Features Syndicate actually sued The Royal Guardsmen for using Snoopy without permission. Though Charlie Brown loses baseball games...he can sure win a Lawsuit!
Paul Warren
"De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da," The Police
A TV ad promoting the electronic toy SIMON featured a band that was a direct rip-off of the Police. The singer's voice was a dead ringer for Sting and the band was playing a commercial ditty that had a Police-like pop-reggae sound and a chorus chant that went, "Dah doo dah doo, dah doo dah doo". Too much an imitation of the 1980-1981 hit "De do do do De da da da". Needless to say the shit soon hit the fan and the TV ad was taken off and some sort of settlement was made with the Police. I first saw this TV commercial during the autumn of 1983 and it was blantanly obvious that it was soon going to be Lawsuit City.
Every Breath You Take, I'll Be Suing You
"Standing Outside the Fire," Garth Brooks
Brooks and songwriting partner Jenny Yates were among those sued by songwriter and musician Guy Thomas. Thomas accused Brooks and Yates of stealing some of the melody to "Standing Outside the Fire" from a hit song he wrote with Kenny Loggins, "Conviction of the Heart", which appeared on his Leap of Faith CD. Even though Loggins co-wrote the song, he didn't take part in the lawsuit. It was settled out of court.
Sutch
"Oh Me So Horny," 2 Live Crew
Broward County police hauled in 2Live Crew into court because the album As Nasty As They Want To Be was banned in Broward County Florida due to its obscene lyrical content. But the case and Broward County's anti-obscenity laws were struck down and thrown out because the song was protected under free speech.
Celeste
"Fight Test," The Flaming Lips
The melody and chord progression during the verses as well as the chorus of Fight Test (2003) by the Flaming Lips are nearly identical to that of Father and Son (1970) by Cat Stevens. Fight Test has a faster tempo, but the melody is right there. After a non-contentious suit between record companies, both the Flaming Lips and Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam) are receiving royalties.
bromosexual
"Xanadu," Electric Light Orchestra feat Olivia Newton John
During a radio interview (King Biscuit Flower Hour?) in the 80s, Jeff Lynne mentioned a lawsuit about satanic backmasking. He didn't give many details, other than he lost the suit and it involved his vocal performance coaching of Olivia. He refused to discuss the matter and told the interviewer that the details were in Variety magazine.
Jim
"Black Hole Sun," Soundgarden
This 1994 grunge hit was a big hit for Soundgarden in 2006 it was ruined by Peter Frampton by March 1996 synth legends The Moog Cookbook covered it
Karl 1332
"Pretty Woman," 2 Live Crew
The rap group was sued by the owners of Roy Orbison's song "Oh, Pretty Woman" for copyright infringement. 2 Live Crew won because the song was a parody.
dxman
"The Band's Name," Nirvana
In 1992, The U.K. Band from the 60's also named Nirvana filed a lawsuit against Kurt Cobain's Nirvana. The case ended with both bands calling themselves Nirvana and both Nirvana bands were to release "Nirvana Sings Nirvana", but it was shelved once Kurt Cobain died.
Paul Warren
"Business Sh*t," Beatles
I'm surprised this wasn't mentioned already. I watched the Beatles Anthology miniseries on ABC-TV (Ay-Beatle-Cee, geddit?). When their manager was found dead in a hotel the Fab 4 took on the management duties on TOP of all the stressful pressures they already had. There were several business enterprises such as Apple Corps Ltd. and their new record label Apple. The Beatles were very naive about business matters and later on they hired Allen Klein to straighten out the mess. When the burnt out superstars split up the business situation was in an extremely horrible shape. Lawsuits between Klein and the Beatles were filed back and forth. It took about 5 years just to get the band legally disbanded. Then the Apple Corps mess and more troubles with the distributor record labels took years to settle. The Fabs repeatedly referred to this legal madness as "that business sh*t".
We Can Work It Out

Other Pages: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z Misc.

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