After an extended lawsuit lasting several years, Justin Bieber and Usher finally won the lawsuit over their hit single “Somebody to Love.”
Singer Devin Copeland, aka “De Rico,” and writer Mareio Overton filed a lawsuit in 2013 alleging that Justin Bieber and Usher had infringed on their own song by the same title as “Somebody to Love.” According to Rolling Stone, the lawsuit accused “the duo of copying the title, time signature and beat as Copeland and Overton’s version of the track.”
Copeland and Overton wanted $10 million in damages for the alleged infringement. The original lawsuit was dismissed, but a federal court ruling in 2014 declared that a jury might be able to find the two songs similar enough to convict of plagiarism. The 2014 ruling was the result of an appeal by the plaintiffs that a jury, rather than a judge, ought to be the determiner of whether or not the two songs are similar enough for damages to be awarded.
Fortune reported “In an order on Thursday, U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen in Norfolk, Virginia adopted a federal magistrate judge’s finding that Devin Copeland and his cousin Mareio Overton failed to show that Bieber and Usher had access to their 2008 song before creating their own work in early 2010.”
Judge Arenda Allen was also the judge who originally dismissed the lawsuit before the 2014 federal ruling brought the suit back to court
The case was dismissed with prejudice, meaning that the plaintiffs will find it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to bring the case back to court.
Copeland and Overton’s version of “Somebody to Love” was released back in 2008, while the Justin Bieber and Usher version came out in 2010. The Bieber version is supposedly based off a 2009 version written by songwriter Heather Bright.
According to the judge who threw out the case, “the similarities were “modest” at best and not enough to support a lawsuit,” says TMZ.
Bieber’s version of “Somebody to Love” reached number 15 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Check out both versions below and see if they are similar enough to warrant a lawsuit.
The Copeland/Overton lawsuit is only the first victory Justin Bieber needs to worry about when it comes to alleged copyright infringments. Casey Dienel, aka “White Hinterland,” an indie artist, recently filed a suit against both Bieber and Skrillex over the alleged use of part of her 2014 song “Ring the Bell.”
TMZ reports Casey’s claim is based on “8 seconds of the riff… but Casey says he repeats it 6 times in the track. That’s not the only similarity… according to Casey, both songs feature keyboard synthesizers, samples, synth bass, drums, and percussion.”
So far, Bieber and Skrillex have not responded to the suit by Casey, and it is unclear how much the indie artist is looking to make off the lawsuit.
Apparently Casey’s lawyers notified Bieber’s team in December 2015 of the supposed infringement, but never heard back.
Casey posted her intentions on Facebook.
“As many of you that follow my career and work have already recognized, Justin Bieber’s song ‘Sorry’ copies the vocal riff prominently featured in my song ‘Ring the Bell.’ The writers, producers, and performers of ‘Sorry’ did not obtain a license for this exploitation of my work, nor did they obtain or seek my permission. Yesterday afternoon, I filed a lawsuit for copyright infringement against Justin Bieber and the other responsible parties.”
You can check out the two songs below and see for yourself whether or not Bieber used Casey’s work in his.
So did Justin Bieber actually steal the music from the artists who claim he used their work without permission? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!
[Featured Image by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images]