Usher and protégé Justin Bieber may soon find themselves on the wrong side of a songwriting dispute worth millions of dollars.
The singers were recently issued a court order to respond to a $10 million lawsuit that alleges the pair copied elements of a song by two Virginia songwriters.
In a 2013 lawsuit, songwriters Devin Copeland and Mareio Overton say a song released by Bieber in 2010 called “Somebody To Love” sounds very similar to a song they shopped to Usher’s camp with the same name back in 2008. They claim Beiber’s song has a similar beat pattern, lyrics, and chords.
A Richmond, Va court has found there is enough merit to allow the suit to proceed.
“After listening to the Copeland song and the Bieber song as wholes, we conclude that their choruses are similar enough and also significant enough that a reasonable jury could find the songs intrinsically similar,” said Circuit Judge Pamela Harris.
Copeland and Overton say they originally composed the song for Copeland’s 2008 album, My Story II, but after a chance meeting with reps for Usher, they decided to see if he’d be interested in buying it but instead he “conspired…to directly copy the song, intending to appropriate the Plaintiffs’ intellectual property as their own.”
No trial date has been set for the case as of yet.
Dare we say the “Blurred Lines” precedent may come into play here? It’ll be interesting to see if this case makes it to trial or if the parties agree to settle upon an “Uptown Funk” deal and share songwriting credits.