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Music Trivia -> Song Lawsuits -> S

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.

Entries Beginning with S

"Sadeness," Enigma
Enigma was sued for unauthorized use of the Gregorian chant for Sadeness.
"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
"So Hott," Kid Rock
Somebody is suing Kid Rock because he claims that the beginning guitars in "So Hott" are the same as it is in his own song "Slow Death", and that he also did the same repetition of singing "so hot" three times, as he did in "Slow Death"
"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
"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
"Stairway To Heaven," Led Zeppelin
It has been alleged that Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin used the descending guitar-figure from "Taurus" for Led Zeppelin's signature song "Stairway to Heaven". Led Zeppelin had opened for Spirit in an early American tour, providing the possibility that Led Zeppelin had heard the Spirit song before "Stairway to Heaven" was written. In the liner notes to the 1996 reissue of Spirit's debut album, Randy California wrote: People always ask me why "Stairway to Heaven" sounds exactly like "Taurus", which was released two years earlier. I know Led Zeppelin also played "Fresh Garbage" in their live set. They opened up for us on their first American tour. Randy California, born Randy Wolfe, died in 1997. In 2014, the musician's estate filed a copyright infringement suit seeking a co-writing credit for California on "Stairway to Heaven." In April 2016, District Judge Gary Klausner ruled that there were sufficient similarities between the songs to call for Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, credited as co-writers of "Stairway to Heaven", to stand trial by jury for copyright infringement. The trial began on June 14, 2016. On June 15, 2016, Jimmy Page spent hours on the witness stand testifying. By law, the jury was not allowed to hear original recordings of the songs; instead, they heard an expert perform both songs in court using original sheet music. The trial concluded on June 23, 2016, with the jury, after one hour of deliberation, finding that Led Zeppelin was not guilty of copyright infringement, determining that while Plant and Page had access to "Taurus", the song's riff was not "intrinsically similar" to the opening of "Stairway to Heaven." The Wolfe estate filed an appeal, and in September 2018, a three judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco, California, citing a series of errors by the previous case's judge, threw out by a 3–0 ruling the 2016 district court's decision. According to the appeals court decision, the 2016 trial judge erred in failing to instruct jurors that the trustee could prevail if Wolfe had created a "sufficiently original combination" of "otherwise unprotectable music elements," and also in instructing jurors about the copyrighting of music elements in the public domain. In March 2020, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals sitting en banc, voted 9 to 2 to let stand the 2016 jury verdict in favor of Led Zeppelin. In October 2020, the Supreme Court of the United States refused to hear the case, leaving the Ninth Circuit's decision in place and effectively ending the dispute. Taken From Wikipedia
Clever Name
"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.
"Stars are Blind," Paris Hilton
Numerous comparisons were made of the background tune for "Stars are Blind" and "Kingston" by UB40. The similarities were striking enough to result in a lawsuit.
"Suicide Solution," Ozzy Osbourne
Ozzy claimed he had originally wrote this song in memory of AC/DC singer Bon Scott, who died of hypothermia in his car after drinking heavily the night earlier. In 1984, a teenager only known as John M. shot himself in the head while listening to the song. John M.'s parents blamed the song for their son's death They hired attorney Thomas Anderson and sued Ozzy for wrongful death. The judge ruled in Ozzy's favor, citing First Amendment rights.
"Surfin' U.S.A.," The Beach Boys
The Beach Boys' hit song "Surfin' U.S.A." is set to the melody of Chuck Berry's "Sweet Little Sixteen," but Chuck Berry had never given the Beach Boys permission to use his song. Years after the song's initial release, Chuck Berry successfully sued the Beach Boys, causing all subsequent releases of "Surfin' U.S.A." on compilation albums to credit Berry alongside Brian Wilson, who wrote the new lyrics.

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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