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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.

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The 20 most recent entries are listed below. There are 72 entries in this section.

"The Queen and I," KLF
The majority of the song featured heavy usage of a "Dancing Queen" sample, which got them in trouble with ABBA's lawyers. As a result, they destroyed all unsold copies, an image of which is on the cover of their next album.
"Sorry," Justin Bieber
Indie artist White Hinterland accused Bieber and Skrillex of using her vocal loop from her 2014 song "Ring the Bell" without permission; Skrillex rebutted Hinterland's claims by uploading a video manipulating the vocals of co-writer Julia Michaels. The lawsuit was later dropped.
Maryellen Larkin
"Soft Kitty," Cast of 'The Big Bang Theory'
A lawsuit was filed by the estate of one Edith Newlin (her two daughters) in 2015 claiming that the show, The Big Bang Theory, CBS and Time Warner, Inc. used Mrs. Newlin's song "Warm Kitty" written in 1930, without their permission. The suit claims that the series changed the title of the song to "Soft Kitty" before putting it in illegally. A U.S. District Count dismissed the case, stating that the Newlin sisters failed to show proof of a copyright for the song.
Odie Garfield
"Sadeness," Enigma
Enigma was sued for unauthorized use of the Gregorian chant for Sadeness.
"Barbie Girl," Aqua
Mattel Toys LTD sued Aqua and their record label for soiling the Barbie brand's "wholesome" image. The judge threw the case out because the song was protected under free speech.
"Thinking Out Loud," Ed Sheeran
Ed Townsend's estate sued Sheeran for plagiarising elements off Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On". The melodies are indeed eerily similar (and it didn't help that Sheeran would occasionally mash up the two songs in his concerts either), but the courts initially dismissed it in 2016. Structured Asset Sales however brought out another lawsuit worth $100 million.
Maryellen Larkin
"band name," J. Band
The reunited J. Geils Band with Peter Wolf back as frontman, had scheduled several dates in many cities but were forced to cancel the tour due to a lawsuit by J. Geils himself. After all, how could these guys call themselves the "J. Geils Band" if guitarist Geils himself ain't in it? He's 70 years old and he's been on the road with another band but promoting himself and using his name "J. Geils" alone - no "Band".
Leader Of The Band
"Give Me Everything," Pitbull
Lindsey Lohan filed the lawsuit because Lohan thought the song mentioned her name. The song was protected by free speech and Pitbull won the lawsuit.
"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 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:
"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:
"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...
"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.
"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.
"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."
"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.
"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

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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