Was 1 of The Weeknd’s biggest hits stolen from a little-known movie?

The Weeknd
Photo courtesy of XO/Republic Records

This past Wednesday a British music publishing company filed suit in Los Angeles claiming that The Weeknd’s hit song, “The Hills,” infringes on the copyright of composer Tom Raybould’s song “Revolution” from the soundtrack of the 2014 movie, The Machine.

Publisher Cutting Edge Music Services alleges that in March of this year, producer Million Dollar Mano sent a direct message to Raybould that read “I sampled your music might make it 2 the weeknd next album. Huge fan of what u did 4 the machine movie!”

Mano, aka Emmanuel Nickerson, is named in the lawsuit along with fellow producer; Illangelo, aka Carlo Montagnese; composer Belly, aka Ahmad Balshe; The Weeknd’s record labels; and the producers’ music publishing companies.

According to the lawsuit, “The Hills” contains a large amount of “original and unique portions” of “Revolution” and specifies “both the Infringing Song and the Track featuring synthesizer bass-lines performed with almost identical idiosyncratic sounds at the same register and using the same pitch sequence, melodic phase structure and rhythmic durations.”

“The lawsuit speaks for itself, and I appreciate my publisher, the Cutting Edge Group, standing up for composers in situations like the one I’m in,” Raybould said via statement.

“The Hills” was a huge success for The Weeknd, climbing to No. 1 on the charts in a number of countries and amassing over five million streams and more than 100K in sales. The song also helped propel the album on which its featured, Beauty Behind The Madness, to stay atop the charts for three consecutive weeks.

Cutting Edge’s suit seeks an injunction on future distribution of the album until proper credit is given as well as unspecified damages.

Thus far, neither The Weeknd, nor any of the parties named in the suit have issued a statement addressing the matter.

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