Pitbull & Ke$ha vs. Lee Oskar

pitbull-lee-oskar

This one just came across my desk. Apparently Lee Oskar never authorized the use of his”San Francisco Bay” harmonica melody in Pitbull’s “Timber”. It looks like this particular case below deals specifically with international use.

Pitbull ft. Ke$ha - "Timber" (2013)
Lee Oskar - "San Francisco Bay" (1978)

Some press on the issue:

On June 25, 2014, it was reported that songwriters Lee Oskar, Keri Oskar, and Greg Errico had filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against the makers of “Timber”, which features a harmonica melody that Oskar claims is “identical” to the melody used in his 1978 song “San Francisco Bay”. The songwriters are seeking $3 million USD in damages. The lawsuit alleges that while Sony Music may have obtained permission to use the sample, which is credited in the album notes for Meltdown, from a license holder, the label failed to obtain permission from the songwriters themselves.
wikipedia

Here is some legal talk:

In copyright infringement action arising out of international release of song “Timber” by performing artists Pitbull and Kesha, district court dismisses claims against Sony Music Entertainment, which obtained license from co-owner of allegedly infringed work, but denies motion to dismiss claims that Sony’s foreign affiliates infringed plaintiffs’ work under foreign law.

Plaintiffs, the co-authors of “San Francisco Bay,” a 1978 song performed by Lee Oskar Levitin featuring a distinctive harmonica riff, sued Sony Music Entertainment and other domestic entities, as well as Sony’s foreign affiliates, for domestic and foreign copyright infringement following the international release of the song “Timber” by rapper Pitbull and pop star Kesha. Plaintiffs alleged that the song contains the same harmonica solo and melody as “San Francisco Bay” and that the “Timber” harmonica player was, in fact, specifically instructed to emulate Levitin’s harmonica riff. Plaintiffs also alleged that the domestic defendants made the song “available” to the foreign defendants, which, in turn, released “Timber” in the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, Mexico, Spain, Canada, Australia, France and South Korea. All defendants moved to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim, and the foreign defendants also moved to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction and on the basis of forum non conveniens. The court granted dismissal of only the claims against the U.S. defendants.
– Levitin v. Sony Music Entertainment – USDC, Southern District of New York, April 22, 2015

 

Take note guys. It takes SIXTEEN (16) people to write a song these days.  Here is what is listed on Wikipedia. Lee Oskar is on there although I don’t know if that is official. But wait… look who else is on there:

Kesha Sebert
Armando C. Pérez
Lukasz Gottwald <<<< This Guy
Aaron Davis Arnold
Priscilla Hamilton
Jamie Sanderson
Breyan Stanley Isaac
Henry Walter
Pebe Sebert
Lee Oskar
Keri Oskar
Greg Errico
Steve Arrington
Charles Carter
Waung Hankerson
Roger Parker

More Kesha

Flo Rida vs. Katy Perry vs. Kesha

Kesha vs. Flo Rida vs. Taio Cruz

Kesha vs. Alphaville

Ke$ha vs. The Residents

Chrissy vs. Ke$ha

More Pitbull

Pitbull vs. Aerosmith and Run DMC

Jay-Z vs. Bruno Spoerri: Jay-Z to pay Swiss jazz musician 50% of royalties

Jay-Z vs. Bruno Spoerri

Apparently this has been out in the open for over a year. Well it’s sorta settled now. Jay-Z will pay Swiss jazz musician 50% of royalties for using his instrumental for “Versus”. Check out some clips of the tracks below.

Jay-Z - "Versus" (2013)

Bruno Spoerri - "On The Way" (1978)

From the press:

US rapper Jay-Z has agreed to pay half the royalties of one of his songs to a Swiss jazz musician Bruno Spoerri after using his music without consent.
The rapper had denied copying instrumental ‘Lilith — on the way’ in his 2013 song ‘Versus’. But he has now agreed to pay 50 per cent of the royalties to the Swiss pianist and saxophonist, following an 18-month legal wrangle.

The American musician and record producer only admitted using the music without attribution a few months ago, according to reports.
Speaking last year, the veteran jazz musician said legal proceedings could have been avoided with a phone call.
‘In a way I’m flattered that a relatively young rapper takes a sample from an old man, a sample that is about 35 years old,’ he told swissinfo.ch.

‘On the other hand I’m furious because it would have been so simple to clear the sample. All it would have needed was a call or an email to the company and I think it would have been relatively cheap.’
Mr Spoerri, 79, has worked with the likes of Lee Konitz, Hans Kennel and George Gruntz in a career spanning nearly 50 years.
In an illustrious career, he has directed the Zurich jazz festival and music schools in Zurich and Lucerne.

DailyMail.com March 13, 2015

 

The following was published before the settlement:

Financially, the two musicians are at opposite ends of the music spectrum.
In 2012, Forbes estimated the net worth of Jay Z – real name Shawn Carter – from music and other businesses at $500 million (CHF450 million). Jay Z and Justin Timberlake won a Grammy award on January 26 for their collaboration on another track from Magna Carta Holy Grail.

Spoerri, who still performs once or twice a month, says what matters most to him is an apology.

“I would like them to acknowledge what happened and say sorry. And then I think it would be fine if they would put my name on the piece and in the end I want to have a part of the money that comes in.”

– SwissInfo Jan, 28 2014

 

Check out this other Jay-Z post:

Jay-Z vs. Ice-T vs. Trick Daddy – 99 Problems but…

 

And for more soundalikes that have actually made it to court check out the litigated category.

 

 

 

Marvin Gaye family awarded $7.4 million in ‘Blurred Lines’ trial

thicke-lawsuit-done

According to my go-to news source Mashable has confirmed that a federal jury found that Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams lifted “Blurred Lines” from Gaye’s 1977 hit “Got to Give It Up”. $4 million in damages, plus $1.6 million in profits from Williams and $1.7 million from Thicke will go to Gaye’s children Nona, Frankie and Marvin III, pending a possible appeal.

This Thicke/Gaye story came to light back in August, 2013 when Thicke actually sued Marvin Gaye’s estate in order to protect his song from what was to come. You can read about that here.

And once again, here are those two songs:

Marvin Gaye – “Got to Give it Up” (1977)

Robin Thicke – “Blurred Lines” (2013)

See Also:
Sam Smith Settles Copyright With Tom Petty

Robin Thicke Sues Marvin Gaye

Robin Thicke Lied About Writing “Blurred Lines”

Diet Coke vs. Pharrell Williams

Ed Sheeran “Sing” (co-written by Pharrell) vs. Yacht vs. The Rolling Stones