Kendrick Lamar has been sued for copyright infringement by a musician called Terrance Hayes, over Lamar’s hit single Loyalty, released in 2017 and taken from his fourth album, Damn.
The track, which features a guest appearance from Rihanna, won the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Rap/Sung Performance.
According to the claim, filed in California Federal court on Friday (August 21), Terrance Hayes says he had previously recorded his own song called Loyalty in 2011 with musician and producer, Josef Leimberg.
The legal document then adds that Kendrick Lamar collaborator Terrace Martin, who co-wrote and produced Lamar’s 2017 hit Loyalty, had also previously closely collaborated with Leimberg.
Terrace Martin and Josef Leimberg are named as co-defendants along with Lamar.
The filing, obtained by MBW, and which you can read here in full, alleges that Hayes wrote his track called Loyalty in 2011, registered it with the US Copyright Office and recorded it with Leimberg at the Ironworx Creative Recordings studio that same year.
Hayes says that all his recording sessions were stored on Leimberg’s computer and that Martin had access to his work through his relationship with Leimberg.
Hayes then alleges that the defendants “copied the entire composition, including title, melody, harmony and rhythm” from the track he says he wrote in 2011 and that they “slowed it down through a synthesizer and combined it with another sample to disguise the copying”.
It adds that “the melody of the Infringing Song is identical to the Subject Track with a few minor variations, which can be seen by juxtaposing both melodies”.
“The Infringing Song copies substantial qualitative and quantitative portions of the Subject Track, including the same song title, similar subject matter, substantially similar note combinations and structures, melodies, themes, rhythm, and kick and snare patterns.”
“The Infringing Song copies substantial qualitative and quantitative portions of the Subject Track, including the same song title, similar subject matter, substantially similar note combinations and structures, melodies, themes, rhythm, and kick and snare patterns,” continues the filing.
“Both songs use the same chord progressions, melodies and other aspects throughout, and neither song features any changes in the musical elements as the recordings progress toward their conclusions.”
Hayes is demanding a trial by jury and one of the outcomes he’s looking for, according to the Prayer for Relief section of the filing, is to “be awarded all profits of Defendants”, in addition to “any other monetary advantage gained by the Defendants through their infringement, the exact sum to be proven at the time of trial”.
Adds the filing: “Due to Defendants’ acts of copyright infringement as alleged herein, Defendants, and each of them, have obtained direct and indirect profits they would not otherwise have realized but for their infringement of Plaintiff’s rights in Plaintiff’s copyrighted sound recordings.
“As such, Plaintiff is entitled to disgorgement of Defendants’ profits directly and indirectly attributable to Defendants’ infringements of their rights in the sound recordings in an amount to be established at trial.”
This case is the latest in a series of high-profile copyright lawsuits filed against superstar artists in recent years.
Earlier this month, a copyright infringement lawsuit filed against Lizzo (aka Melissa Jefferson) by three songwriters – Justin and Jeremiah Raisen and Justin ‘Yves’ Rothman – was dismissed by a judge in California.
In July, pop-punk band Yellowcard dropped their $15m copyright lawsuit against Juice Wrld over the late artist’s hit single, Lucid Dreams.
In June, Travis Scott was accused of copyright infringement in a lawsuit filed by Blurred Lines lawyer Richard Busch over his US No.1 single, Highest in the Room.
Meanwhile, in March, a federal court in California overturned the verdict in the Dark Horse copyright infringement suit against Katy Perry – which would have seen her, Capitol Records and her collaborators liable for $2.8 million.
Perry’s win followed Led Zeppelin’s victory over their long-running copyright battle over their classic ’70s song Stairway to Heaven has resulted in a huge victory for the British rock band, as well as their publishing and record label partner, Warner Music Group.Music Business Worldwide