Lady Gaga Sued for “Shallow”

It’s a new era folks. Although I’ve been running this site for over 10 years cataloging decades of soundalikes in popular music  there has been a recent wave of mega hitmakers being sued for copyright infringement. Most recently Katy Perry and her songwriting team who lost a case for her 2013 hit “Dark Horse”. In 2015 Marvin Gaye’s family successfully won against Robin Thicke and Pharrell for their hit “Blurred Lines”.  The defending argument is generally the same throughout – there are only so many notes, chords and combinations thereof to create a melody. But take the qualities of a vocalist, the playing style of an instrument, the melody of the bass guitar under the melody of the vocals, the synthesizer patch, the tempo, the vocal harmony. These things all interact and in sometimes ways that have never been heard before. But it’s also impossible for everyone in the world to hear every single piece of music to either ensure originality or to avoid being plagued by the opposite.

So here’s the latest. Via Forbes:

Lady Gaga’s song “Shallow” earned the Grammy-winning singer-songwriter her first Academy Award. The song, featured in the 2018 film A Star Is Born, is now the subject of a multi-million-dollar lawsuit. Steve Ronsen, an until-now-unknown songwriter claims Gaga stole a three-note progression from his 2012 song “Almost.” Through his lawyer, Mark D. Shirian, he has filed suit for copyright infringement and damages in the “millions and millions” of dollars. Lady Gaga and her lawyer have denounced the suit as a “brazen shakedown” and have indicated that they will fight it “vigorously.” This suit comes as the latest in a string of music copyright lawsuits, beginning with the “Blurred Lines” case, that has the music industry on edge as artists, producers, and publishers adapt to a changing legal landscape. – More at Forbes

Steve Ronsen – “Almost” (2012)

Layd Gaga, Bradley Cooper – “Shallow” (2018)

 

Carrie Underwood sued for NFL song “Game On”

In a suit filed in Manhattan federal court against Underwood, NBC and the NFL, Heidi Merrill, a country singer who found some success a few years ago with a song for the Nebraska Cornhuskers college football team, alleges that she and her team penned her version of “Game On” in 2016 and that it was featured in March 2017 during a broadcast of CBS’ “Inside College Basketball.”

Sam Israel, an attorney representing the plaintiffs, said that in August 2017 the plaintiffs passed the song along to Underwood’s producer to pitch to Underwood.

Israel said that an assistant for Underwood’s producer told the plaintiffs that “we’re going to have to pass” on Merrill’s song.  Read more at NY Post

I had a few listens. It seems maybe the line “Game On” is somewhat similar. But I guess that if Merrill’s team pitched this to Underwood then it’s a bit suspect. Listen for yourself:

Chorus:

Full Songs:

Heidi Merrill – “Game On” (2017)

Carrie Underwood – “Game On” (2018)

 

See also:

NFL on Fox Theme vs. Sleigh Ride

Kelly Clarkson vs. Spoon

Other songs that made it to court

Logan Paul Sued for “No Handlebars”

Billboard.com reports that, “Colorado rap-rock group Flobots is suing YouTube star Logan Paul for copyright infringement over his 2017 single “No Handlebars,” documents filed in U.S. District Court in California show.”

“In the suit, Flobots claim Paul’s “No Handlebars” “copies prominent, qualitatively and quantitively important, original parts” of their 2008 single “Handlebars,” thereby infringing their copyright. They are seeking actual damages in addition to profits “that are attributable to the copyrighted material,” an accounting of “all profits, income, receipts, or other benefits” derived by Paul and Maverick Media from “No Handlebars,” an injunction barring them from further infringing their copyright and the establishment of a “running royalty on all future exploitations” of the song.”

Have a listen!

Logan Paul - "No Handlebars" (2017)
Flobots - "Handlebars" (2008)