Bieber and Usher Sued for Copyright Infringement

June 11, 2013

I read an article titled, ‘Justin Bieber and Usher sued for copyright infringement.’ The link to the article ishttp://www.nme.com/news/justin-bieber/70176.  This short article briefly tells how two songwriters, Devin Copeland and Mareio Overton, from Virginia wrote a song called, ‘Somebody To Love’, which Usher and Justin Beiber have stolen. The article states that, “the song ‘Somebody To Love’ contains numerous lyrical and stylistic similarities to a song of the same name that they wrote in 2008.” A lawsuit was filed on May 2, 2013 in federal court. In another article about the same situation, this time by ABC News, there is greater detail stating that, “The suit claims 17 musical similarities to Copeland’s version, including the same title, a scalar 7-chord to start the chorus, the same hook in the chorus, “I…need somebody to love,” and the same repeating underlying “Keystone” beat pattern.” The link is http://abcnews.go.com/Business/va-men-sue-justin-bieber-usher-copying-song/story?id=19117618#.Ua_NDeC0yfR

Copeland and Overton had a copyright with a recording of their song on an album, which served as an original work of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. This was both a Musical work and a sound recording form of Intellectual Property. This violated all of the songwriters exclusive rights to reproduce the work; perform the work publicly; display the work publicly; make derivatives of the work; and distribute copies of the work. This also violated their moral rights by not giving them name credit or control of the destiny of the work. They are suing for $10 million for copyright infringement, contributory infringement, and vicarious infringement.

This song is incredibly important to the songwriters due to how great they thought it was. This was a song that they were passing on to some high industry professionals to try and get their career started. What happened instead was Justin Beiber using this song on his album ‘My World 2.0′ with background vocals provided by Usher. This song was good enough for these two superstars to sing on it so I imagine the original authors are quite upset they are not seeing a cut from the profits. Obviously, Copeland and Overton are ok with finding someone to sing their song, but they wanted this done the right way. They do not want to pour their lives into something and just give it away. The only thing they want to prevent is having people steal their work. This song went on to debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 100 chart, peaked at number 15 and than went platinum. I think their reasons to prevent this from happening are incredibly valid, I would want my work stolen either.

In the second article, Robert Kenney states that, “It almost seems like a blatant copy. I’m not suggesting it is, but if this turns out to be true, it’s almost pretty brazen, the listing of the elements in the complaint were ‘pretty specific’ and ‘fact-heavy,’ the greater the number the elements of similarity, the easier it will be to show infringement,” The protection of the integrity and author’s vision of the work is both relevant and necessary. If Copeland and Overton were not issued a copyright registration number by the U.S. Copyright Office on Oct. 2, 2008 there would be nothing to talk about. There would be no actual proof that they wrote the song and would not have any argument what so ever. I do not believe they could even find someone to legally represent them in this industry, no one would be interested.

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