Sam Smith’s hit song “Stay with Me” is being contested once again. After the singer was accused of stealing the melody from Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down,” another man has come out to declare that “Stay with Me” is actually his own. But this time it’s not a well-known music star. It’s somebody you’ve never heard of.
According to UPI, a man named Mark Halper has claimed rights of Sam Smith’s tune. He says “Stay with Me” is a rip-off of a song he wrote in 1986 called “Don’t Throw Our Love Away.” The dispute seems to come primarily from Sam Smith’s use of that phrase eight times in his own song. Because of that, Halper is suing Sam Smith and expecting a substantial chunk of cash from the pop star.
However, Mark Halper is suing the record company who owns Sam Smith’s song, rather than going after the singer himself. He believes the record companies should compensate him for allowing Sam Smith to steal the concept of the song from him and for distributing the track without his permission.
If that wasn’t bold enough, the man is also claiming to deserve the Grammy that Smith won for the song. He’s allegedly requesting the award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, or at least requesting to be acknowledged for writing the song first.
According to TMZ, Halper has accused “Stay with Me” of taking the “phraseology and significant phrase “stay with me'” from his own track penned in 1986.
But, as TMZ points out, even if Mark Halper did write the words “Don’t throw our love away” before Sam Smith, the Supremes released a song called “Baby Love” in 1964 that repeated those same words over and over again. By Halper’s own standards, the Supremes should sue him for stealing their “phraseology” first.
This seems to be another example of a massively popular song being disputed simply due to the degree of its success. Many similar songs have been written in the past without any legal issues, but only when they reach charttopping status do the complaints and infringement accusations come out of the woodwork.
This was also the case with Robin Thicke’s hotly disputed song “Blurred Lines,” which a jury ruled was owned by the estate of Marvin Gaye, who owns his similar song “Got to Give it Up.”
What do you think? Does Halper have a case against Sam Smith?