Music copyright infringements fall into three different categories; Decided, Settled and cases In the media. To view cases on our website select from the list below or filter by category.
2016 • Settled • USA, District of Tennessee, Nashville Division
Claimant Work: Ring The Bell
Defendant Work: Sorry
Artist Casey Dienel, who also records under the name White Hinterland brought a case against Justin Bieber in May 2016, alleging that Bieber's 2015 hit single ‘Sorry’ copied Dienel's vocal loop from her 2014 song ‘Ring the Bell’. The allegedly copied segment can be heard in the first five seconds of each song.
2015 • Decided • USA, 9th Circuit, California
Claimant Work: Got To Give It Up
Defendant Work: Blurred Lines
More column inches have been given to the Blurred Lines case than any other. It is the most high-profile claim to be considered in recent times and involves two globally successful songs which were recorded 35 years apart. It has divided opinion more than most cases. Many disagree with the US court findings. Most significantly it considers whether a musical style, rather than individual song elements, such as melody and lyrics, can be protected by copyright.
1987 • Decided • UK
Claimant Work: I Menexedenia Politieia (Theme to "The City Of Violets")
Defendant Work: Chariots of Fire
In what has become known as the "Chariots of Fire" case, EMI brought a claim of infringement of copyright against the composer Evangelos Papathanasiou (known professionally as Vangelis), his publisher Spheric BV, Amsterdam, and his record labels Warner Brothers US, and Warner Brothers UK. They accused Vangelis of deliberate or subconscious copying of their work I Menexedenia Politieia by Stavros Logarides, which had been used as the theme music to the 1975 Greek television series The City of Violets. Vangelis’ music to Chariots of Fire was composed in 1981.
2003 • Decided • England and Wales
Claimant Work: Jenny And I
Defendant Work: Sleeping In My Car
Swedish composer Stephan Malmstedt brought an action against EMI Records in 2002 after hearing Roxette’s song Sleeping In My Car, which he considered infringed the copyright in his own song Jenny and I. The song Sleeping In My Car was the first single from Roxette’s 1994 album Crash! Boom! Bang! Both the album and single were hits across Europe, the album and single reaching number one in the charts in Sweden, and the album number three in the UK.
2002 • Decided • England and Wales
Claimant Work: Where Are You Now
Defendant Work: Where Are You
The only three cases to have come to the UK court thus far this century all have a common thread. They were all brought by unknown songwriters, and all claimed that a successful song or artist had infringed their copyright. Creagh was a songwriter with the professional name Marianne Cray. She wrote a song called Where Are You Now in around 1985. She sued Hit And Run Music on the grounds that a substantial part of their song Where Are You infringed the musical and literary copyright in her song. Where Are You was co-written by three writers: Philip Manikiza, Simon English and Simon Stirling. Hit And Run published the song, along with Warner Chappell Music Limited and Charisma Music (Publishing) Limited.
2006 • Decided • England and Wales
Claimant Work: Forever After
Defendant Work: Nothing Really Matters
The most recent copyright infringement case to come to trial in the UK is also the most baffling. The composer Elizabeth Coffey wrote a song called Forever After between 1995 and 1996. It was recorded and released by a musician called Peter Twomey. She alleged that the copyright in her song was infringed by a track released by Madonna called Nothing Really Matters (co-written with Patrick Leonard and released on her 1998 album Ray Of Light.) The defendants were the publishers responsible for each writer, and the record label.
1990 • Settled •
Claimant Work: Leaving On A Jet Plane
Defendant Work: Run 2
New Order wrote and recorded the song Run for their 1989 album Technique. It was remixed and released as a single under the title Run 2 the same year. John Denver's publishing company filed a lawsuit claiming that Run closely resembled his 1967 song Leaving On A Jet Plane.
2015 • Settled •
Claimant Work: I Won't Back Down
Defendant Work: Stay With Me
It was reported in January 2015 that the publishers of Sam Smith's hit Stay With Me had agreed a 25% share of royalties to Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne and their publishers on account of its similarity to Tom Petty's 1989 single I Won't Back Down. The case was unusual in being disclosed to the press and revealing the settlement amount.
1993 • Settled •
Claimant Work: The Air That I Breathe
Defendant Work: Creep
This little-reported case from 1993, between Creep and The Air That I Breathe, has received considerable attention in 2018 since it was revealed that Radiohead's publishers were consulting with Lana Del Rey's publishers over similarities between her song Get Free and Creep.
2017 • In the media • New York, USA
Claimant Work: Mission: Impossible (Theme)
Defendant Work: Sonic Groom
Variety.com reported that a suit was filed early in August by Famous Music LLC, publishers of the Mission: Impossible Theme, against IdeaVillage Products Corp, who make a shaver called Sonic Groom.