9 Songs That Have Sparked Lawsuits Source: Huffington Post

There is something about music and lawsuits that seem to go hand-in-hand. Singers seem to get sued all the time and it usually has to do with copyright infringement. It seems that there are many unknown singers and rappers out there that think that the more successful ones are ripping them off. We’re not sure how much validity there is to that, but these cases find their ways to court. We are taking a good look at songs that have sparked lawsuits. There are just too many super famous singers and rappers getting sued and it is beginning to feel like some sort of conspiracy. Here are 9 of the most famous lawsuits.

9. Boyfriend – Avril Lavigne

In 2007, The Rubinoos front man Tommy Dunbar and co-writer James Gangwer sued Avril Lavigne, Gottwald, RCA Records and Apple Inc. According to them, Lavigne’s song “Girlfriend” infringed on their 1979 song “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend;” however, she claimed that she had never heard their song. In 2008, all parties reached a confidential settlement. Source:

8. Frozen – Madonna

Salvatore Acquaviva took Madonna to court for using the same opening four-bar theme in her song “Frozen” that he used in “Ma vie fout le camp” (My Life’s Getting Nowhere”). In 2005, the Belgian judge ruled in favor of Acquaviva and ordered EMI, Sony and Warner Music to withdraw the remaining discs from sale and forbade radio and TV stations from playing the song.

In 2014, a Belgian court overturned the 2005 judgment, ruling that Madonna did not plagiarize Acquaviva’s work in “Frozen.” It was determined that the notes in “Ma vie fout le camp” were not original and had already been used in other songs. Source:

7. Made in America –Jay Z, Kanye West and Frank Ocean

Joel McDonald, a Brooklyn musician, has sued Jay Z., Kanye West, Frank Ocean and hip-hop producer Mike Dean for stealing the song “Made in America.” McDonald claims that he wrote the song and published it on iTunes back in 2009, but they took credit for the song in 2011. He is demanding $3 million in damages. Source:

6. Starships – Nicki Minaj

In 2013, an electronic artist by the name of Clive Tanaka sued Nicki Minaj, producer RedOne and songwriters Carl Falk, Wayne Hector and Rami Yacoub for copyright infringement. Tanaka claimed that Minaj’s 2012 hit song “Starships” copied substantial parts of his 2009 song “New Chicago,” and demanded that all profits that were collected from the song’s broadcast and sale be given to him. Minaj denied the claims, alleging that she had never heard of Tanaka or “Neu Chicago.” A year later, both Minaj and Tanaka agreed to dismiss the case. Source:

5. Rap God – Eminem

This past January, Raymond Jones, a rapper from the group Hotstylz, sued Eminem and his label Interscope Records for $8 million in damages. According to Jones, Eminem sampled 25 seconds from Hotstylz’s 2007 song “Looking Boy” in his 2013 hit single “Rap God.” Source:

4. Dark Horse – Katy Perry

Last summer, a group of Christian rappers known as Flame sued Katy Perry for copyright infringement, claiming that her song “Dark Horse” was a rip-off of their 2008 song “Joyful Noise.” They were pretty unimpressed with what she did with their song. According to them, she sullied it with ““witchcraft, paganism, black magic and Illuminati imagery.” Source:

3. Drunk in Love – Beyonce, Jay Z and Timbaland

In December 2014, Hungarian singer Mitsou sued Beyonce, Jay Z and Timbaland for using her song “Bajba, Bajba Pelem” in the opening hook of “Drunk in Love.” She is seeking damages and has requested that the judge rule that the song cannot be played until her vocals are removed from the song. Source:

2. Viva La Vida – Coldplay

Joe Satriani filed a copyright infringement suit against Coldplay back in 2008. According to him, the song “Viva la Vida” incorporates “substantial, original portions” of his song “If I Could Fly.” Coldplay alleged any similarities were “entirely coincidental.” In 2009, the California Central District Court dismissed the case and both parties agreed to an out-of-court settlement. Source:

1. Blurred Lines – Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams 

Robin Thick and Pharrell Williams spent a couple of years embroiled in a copyright infringement lawsuit with Marvin Gay’s family. They sued the Gaye family to hit back at their claims that “Blurred Lines” was an infringement on Gay’s copyright; however, they were unable to convince the jury that Gaye’s song “Got To Give It Up” was only an inspiration for “Blurred Lines” and not outright plagiarism. The jury awarded the Gay family $7.3 million, but one should expect Thicke and Williams to appeal sometime soon. Source: Huffington Post
Cate Willikers

Cate Willikers