Bieber and Usher face copying claim

June 2013

Music publishing


Justin Bieber and Usher are facing a claim that they “clearly copied” their song “Somebody to Love“. Devin Copeland, professionally known as De Rico, and his song-writing collaborator, Mareio Overton, say Copeland first recorded the song on his album “My Story II” in 2008 saying that a year earlier, a promoter had introduced them to scouts of (nonparty) Sangreel Media, who presented their copyrighted music to R&B singer Usher Raymond IV and to Jonetta Patton, Usher’s mother and on-off manager. The $10 million action has been brought in the Virginia Federal Court and alleges that “Sangreel never returned any of its copies of Copeland’s “My Story II,” and plaintiffs heard nothing further from Patton or any other representative of Usher,” but that Patton and Usher then conspired with four songwriters — Ray Romulus, Jonathan Yip and Jeremy Reeves, collectively known as the Stereotypes, and Heather Bright — to “directly copy” Copeland and Overton’s song “Somebody to Love” and pass it off as their own. Their complaint lists more than a dozen “points of congruence” between the two works, including the same underlying beat pattern and “nearly identical opening lyrics.” The list of defendants is impressive and along with Bieber, Usher and Patton defendants includes the Stereotypes and songwriter Heather Bright, B-RHAKA Publishing, Please Enjoy the Music, Products of the Street, Sumphu, Universal Music Corp., The Island Def Jam Music Group, Stage Three Music, Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Bieber Time Publishing, WB Music Corporation, Universal Music Corporation and Universal Music Publishing Group.

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