Ironically enough, Justin Bieber is being asked to say sorry over the song “Sorry”. Bieber, along with Skrillex and others who worked on the song that helped land Bieber back on top, are now being sued by another artist who claims that they infringed copyright on her song. The lawsuit was filed earlier this week by a female artist by the name of White Hinterland, who is accusing the collective group of infringing on her song “Ring the Bell” which came out in 2014.

Now this case is a hard one to clearly define as both parties could technically be right. When listening to both songs, the clear question is whether or not the openings to both songs are similar enough to the point where it could be considered infringement. On the one side, yes, both of the opening riffs do sound very similar. Positioned around the same point in both songs, each song has an opening riff of a couple of high-pitched “Ooos”, which, when analyzed listening to one after the other, can distinctly be linked as similar. But then again, that’s really only the case when one knows what they are looking for. On the other side, when one is analyzing the differences, Biebers beginning is clearly higher pitched and more continuous with each of the “Ooos” leading into one another. Hinterlands, on the other hand, is choppier, with each “Ooo” being sharply cut off and is of a slightly lower pitch. Yet again, this is when one knows what to look for. In the grand scheme of things, it is only when one would be specifically comparing the two songs that the similarities become apparent. The chances then, of both songs being played back to back are very slim, so if the less vigilant ear were to hear the songs a couple songs apart, one would not necessarily jump to the conclusion that one song copied the other. This truly calls into question the power of similarities, and whether simply resembling another song crosses that thin copyright line.

This lawsuit comes only a year after another case of similar nature and notoriety. Last year the then hit song, Blurred Lines, by an equally famous duo Robin Thicke and Pharrell, was another big target of a copyright infringement suit. In their case, the court ruled that the similarities between the song Blurred Lines did in fact, through its similar features, did in fact infringe upon that of Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give it Up”. Proving that in the music industry, composition is just as important as content, and copyright for both can be equally as costly. The two cases are drawing a lot of similarities, with many predicting that Biebers case could have a similar outcome. Both cases, equally powerful in their targeting of high-profile in the moment song, each signal a possible change in how the music industry looks at copyright infringement. If Biebers case ends just as similarly as Thicke’s did, then it will truly signal that similarities between songs are much more potent than previously believed. All of which could harrow in a new age of more meticulous song development in order to avoid lawsuits of similar nature. Now original content will truly have to be original.


About The Author

Related Posts