Richard Morrill is suing Gwen Stefani for $25 million, claiming she stole his lyrics for her hit song, "Spark of Fire." Morrill is also suing Stefani's company Harajuku Lovers, Pharrell Williams, Interscope Records, and her producer for not "supervising" her during the writing process.
Morrill and his band L.A.P.D. wrote and recorded "Who's Got My Lightah" (1996). Stefani fell in love with the song after she heard it in Morrill's salon, and he gave her a copy.
A decade or so later, Stefani and Williams performed their collaboration "Spark of Fire" on The Voice in 2014. One of Morrill's friends sent him a video of the show. That's when Morrill claims he heard how the lines were "substantially similar" to L.A.P.D.'s hit song.
According to the claims document, "Prior to hearing about the Stefani clip from The Voice on December 12, 2014, Richard had no reason to suspect that Stefani had taken his copyrighted work and claimed it as her own."
According to E! News, Morrill claims Stefani copied the chorus (rhythm, melody, and background) to suit the vibe for her 2014 pop hit. He even says "Who's Got My Lightah?" and "Spark of Fire" are sung in the same key. The words may be different, but the similarities are enough to raise the hairs on the back of Morrill's neck.
Even though Stefani claims to have only written the "Spark of Fire" chorus, the song made roughly $25 million. That amount will be more than enough to pay for the former No Doubt singer's "unlawful acts."
The amount should cover all stolen property, "prejudgement interest," any gains and profits Stefani and Williams got "at [Morrill's] expense," and all legal fees, as allowed by law.
The Hollywood Reporter reached out to the defendants for comment with no luck. Williams and Robin Thicke are still appealing the 2015 ruling of their "Blurred Lines" copyright dispute.
You can read the full complaint on Scribd.