Indie singer sues over unlicensed sample, but is it even her?


#1

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#2

Whether it’s actually her or not in the original sample, the clip is identical enough that it certainly calls into question where it came from. If a musician recreates someone else’s music note-for-note, are they immune from legal issues? With a motif this unique and identifiable, wouldn’t it have been smarter for them to simply avoid the problem and pay a sampling fee, whether they recreated it or not?


#3

Justin Bieber is the world’s biggest artist…

Okay, that’s it for her credibility right there.

@nungesser She wasn’t even singing the same song. She probably improvised a little woo-woo that resembles another woo-woo. They could have paid up when Daniel threatened to sue, but really, how are you going to find every song that has a few notes that resemble your few notes and pay for all of them? If the old George Harrison case became precedent, it would very nearly bring an end to original music that uses the major scale.


#4


#5

Or, more likely, Skrillex (or Bieber) heard her song, thought “wow, that little vocal trill is a cool motif!” and got a singer to do something almost identical for $50. It makes way more sense for them to have a session singer recreate this for flexibility rather than use an actual sample. I just find it hard to believe that a song with a really unique repeated motif could come out, make a bunch of top-10 lists, and then a few months later Skrillex would say “gosh, I just had this idea for a unique vocal trill out of nowhere.”


#6

Some times shit just sounds similar. Especially oohs and aaahhs. IMHO this is no different than having a drummer play a similar beat or guitarist a similar chord or riff. Everything is a remix. Even if he DID intentionally mimic the sound from another song - so what? The songs are completely different and their own entities.

As much as I am not a Bieber fan, or really a Skrillex fan, the only reason she is trying to sue is because Bieber is rich out the ass and is hoping for a fat pay off to prevent negative press. OR in the very least she just got massive exposure. Well played.

Ever year Justin Timberlake’s “Bringing Sexy Back”? There are several “yeahs” which in my mind sound JUST like a “yeah” in a KMFDM song. I mean every time I hear it I think that is Sascha K. But I am sure they are two different people saying “yeah”, though perhaps run through similar or the same filters to sound very similar.


#7


#8

Pretty sure that’s Meat Loaf, right? You can fit like six Biebers in him!


#9

Wait… have you ever seen Justin Timberlake and Sascha K in the same room?


#10

Um… nooo… but there is no way Sascha would have dated Britney Spears.


#11

Exactly. I have exactly zero problem with Bieber/Skrillex being inspired by her tune or even sampling it outright. Being able to borrow or freely sample something like this is creative freedom. I hate the idea that lawsuits like this might make musicians even more afraid to remix and borrow inspiration. But in our litigious society I’m wondering why they didn’t address the issue when it first came up rather than apparently ignore it; it’s not like it’s an obscure or hard to identify motif. But that’s likely what she’s playing off of.


#12

Inspired? Copying 0-2-5-7? Come off it. Might as well sue everyone who uses I-(IV|ii)-V.


#13

Someone should get Vanilla Ice on the line for his opinion on the matter.


#14

I only hear 4 notes in Ring the Bell and 5 in Sorry. That’s not exactly “identical” or “note-for-note.” And copyright is supposed to only cover the exact expression, not the idea. Casey obviously can’t prove that the original singer’s part was a copy of her recording because of Skrillex’s video.

Bieber certainly has enough money to pay for sampling even if it wasn’t used, but the principle would hurt smaller, poorer artists. What if this wasn’t Bieber but a smaller artist who just became famous because of a hit song that sounded similar? Should they be bankrupted because someone did something similar, but not the same first (or possibly not even first since there often seems to be another song with a similar sound out there)?

Casey might have honestly thought that it was a direct rip (though hearing the two together should make it clear it’s not a sample), but once Skrillex released that video showing the original sound and how he changed it, the lawsuit should be dropped. Otherwise, this is just a fame-grab.


#15

Expression like this isn’t really a mathematical equation; if this goes to court (which I doubt it will), the judgement will be based on whether it can be determined that Skrillex/Bieber stole an idea without paying for it. I’m sure that whenever a song becomes popular, the artist is besieged by letters from every indie artist who can make a vague case that their beat, chord structure, or lyrical ideas were ‘stolen’. In this case, Casey’s song was built on a vocal riff that certainly sounds extremely similar in tone and scale to the one in “Sorry”, which is much easier to point to. That distinct trill is the first thing you hear in both songs.

The music industry has gotten so greedily litigious that the group Animal Collective was pre-emptively given a songwriting credit on a song from Beyoncé’s Lemonade album because one song references ‘material things’ in a vaguely similar way to the lyrics on an Animal Collective song.


#16

If it’s determined that they stole an idea, then the judgment would be overturned on appeal because you can’t copyright or steal an idea.


#17

After watching Skrillex’s little video clip, I’m fairly convinced that the similarities are coincidental. The “woowoowoo” from Sorry is sampled and modified from the original Sorry test vocal track by the song’s writer, Julia Michaels.


#18

Oi, I loathe this tedious nonsense.

“For the promotion of the useful Arts”, my ass. “For the grabbing of sweet sweet lucre”, aye.

Do we have a “Christ, what an asshole” specifically for copyfuckery?


#19

When I said “idea” I suppose I should have said “signature musical motif”.


#20

At some point all the good melodies will have been taken, and no more music will be able to be produced. We may already be there. Copyright should apply to the expression, not the idea.