Uh oh! Justin Bieber and producer Skrillex are being sued for supposedly stealing a “prominent riff” from a female vocalist’s song for Bieber’s 2015 hit “Sorry.”
The pop star was hit with White Hinterland’s (Casey Dienel’s) lawsuit earlier this week.
Skrillex took to Twitter shortly thereafter, saying, “SORRY but we didnt steal this.” Bieber retweeted him, adding #wedontsteal.
— SKRILLEX (@Skrillex) May 27, 2016
Skrillex even added a video to the tweet, which shows how the song was supposedly put together in the studio.
Several fans have commented on the tweet in support of Bieber’s team, assuring the team behind the song that the “most reasonable” fans know the song is legit.
Hinterland claims Bieber stole the four-note riff from her 2014 song “Ring the Bell.” According to NBC, the female singer filed the lawsuit in Nashville, saying the “unique and original vocal sample and riff that appears throughout ‘Ring the Bell'” is protected under copyright law.
Apparently, Hinterland’s suit also claims the “Sorry” singer had to have known about “Ring the Bell” since it had a “widespread commercial release” and was streamed over 800,000 times on the Internet. Skrillex, she says, must have also been aware of the song because they were both featured in Rolling Stone magazine.
“To write, create, produce, and record the song ‘Sorry,’ the Defendants knowingly and unlawfully copied original, protectable elements of the musical composition of ‘Ring the Bell’ and unlawfully sampled Plaintiff’s protectable sound recording of ‘Ring the Bell.'” the suit says.
Hinterland attempted to talk through the problem with Bieber back in December and even posted about it on Facebook, but the pop singer ignored her calls. According to the lawsuit records, he “ignored the Plaintiff’s claims and refused to engage in any dialogue” with her.
“Like most artists that sample music, Bieber could have licensed my song for use in ‘Sorry.’ But he chose not to contact me. I poured my blood, sweat, and tears into writing and producing ‘Ring the Bell,’ and I am proud of the finished product,” the post said. “I have worked very hard to preserve my independence and creative control, thus it came as a shock to hear my work used and exploited without permission.”
This is not the first instance of singers and songwriters suing each other. Just last year, Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke had their 2013 hit “Blurred Lines” taken to court because it was similar to Marvin Gaye’s 1977 “Got to Give It Up.” The jury found the songs to be “too similar” and awarded $7.3 million to Gaye’s family.
While Hinterland’s suit has not specified how much money they want for this instance of copyright infringement, the amount will be tied to “lost profits, lost opportunities, loss of goodwill, and lost publicity.”
What do you think, PopStars? Do the four notes sound too close for comfort, or are these artists just butting heads for show?