Is there a lawsuit creeping up on us?

February 2018

Recorded music, music publishing


For perhaps the first time this year it appears there may, or may not, be a Blurred Lines effect case on the horizons.  


Lana Del Rey recently tweeted: “it’s true about the lawsuit. Although I know my song wasn’t inspired by ‘Creep’, Radiohead feel it was and want 100% of the publishing. I offered up to 40 over the last few months but they will only accept 100. Their lawyers have been relentless, so we will deal with it in court”.” Whilst many took this to mean a lawsuit had been filed by Radiohead’s lawyers, that isn’t quite the full picture.


First a bit of background and in short the dispute revolves around Radiohead claiming that Del Rey lifted aspects of Radiohead’s ‘Creep’ and placed it in her song ‘Get Free’.  If you listen to the two you may feel the same. You may not!


It was alleged by Del Rey that she was being sued and that Radiohead’s lawyers were demanding 100% of the publishing rights to Del Rey’s song. However, in a twist, Warner/ Chappell, Radiohead’s music publisher have stated that there is no lawsuit and the company has not asked for 100% of the publishing rights.


Whilst Warner/ Chappell have denied the existence of a lawsuit and the 100% publishing claim, they do not deny concerns in relation to the two songs. Warner/ Chappell have confirmed, via a spokes person, that they do believe Del Rey’s ‘Get Free’ lends its self from Radiohead’s ‘Creep’.


The spokes person for Warner/ Chappell states that: “As Radiohead’s music publisher, it’s true that we’ve been in discussions since August of last year with Lana Del Rey’s representatives. It’s clear that the verses of ‘Get Free’ use musical elements found in the verses of ‘Creep’ and we’ve requested that this be acknowledged in favour of all writers of ‘Creep’. To set the record straight, no lawsuit has been issued and Radiohead have not said they ‘will only accept 100%’ of the publishing of ‘Get Free’”.


But, and a big but, Radiohead isn’t 100% in the clear. In 1992 Albert Hammond and Mike Hazlewood were added as co-writers to Radiohead’s ‘Creep’. The addition followed a complaint from Hammond and Hazlewood that ‘Creep’ lent its self from the Hollies top 10 hit ‘The Air That I Breath’.  The complaint accused Radiohead of borrowing from the song, inclusive of the chord progression.


Therefore, if Radiohead’s concerns turn out to be legitimate it will mean that a portion of the publishing rights would go from Del Rey to Radiohead, and then on to Hammond and Hazlewood.


Is 2018 to be the year of the Blurred Lines effect, more so than 2017? I hope not.


By Samuel O’Toole (

Interesting comment from VARSITY here


“Yet, on closer consideration, the enormity of this claim seems to be one that has been overstated. Yes – the two have musical overlap – but, looking closely at ‘Get Free’, we can see that the ‘borrowing’ occurs only in the verses of the song. Whilst the emblematic G-B-C-Cm chord sequence permeates through Radiohead’s track, an entirely different progression is adopted by Del Rey as the song advances to its chorus, and the melodic similarities also come to an end here. As the chorus is traditionally considered the most significant and memorable part of a song, should so much emphasis be placed on Del Rey’s verses?”

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