For the last few years, Justin Bieber has become one of the world’s biggest pop stars. Although the singer has seen tremendous success at such a young age, he is currently facing a legal challenge for copyright issues relating to the 2010 song “Somebody to Love,” which may be familiar to fans in Miami. Hip-hop star Usher has also been named in the legal claim.
According to the intellectual property suit, Bieber and Usher intentionally stole several musical elements from a song by the same name recorded and written by a less famous artist. The suit says that the song was registered with the U.S. Copyright office in October 2010.
The suit filed against the major music stars indicates that there are a total of “17 musical similarities” between the two songs. In this kind of case, the more musical similarities between two works, if verified, can help provide strength to the copyright infringement claim.
As artists are going through the creative process to write a new song, any number of things can come to influence them. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that an artist was inadvertently influenced by another song. In this case, however, it appears as though Usher’s representatives were in contact with the artist filing the claim about the possibility of touring with him before the legal claim arose.
Protecting unique work is important for an artist. If someone has spent time creating something, they deserve to have their ideas protected. This may be especially true for emerging artists who may feel as though they don’t have the power to protect their original work. Yet it’s critical for artists in this position to understand that the law may be on their side.
Source: ABC News, “Usher, Bieber Sued for Copyright Infringement Over ‘Somebody to Love’,” May 7, 2013