Roddy Ricch wins copyright infringement lawsuit over ‘The Box’

Roddy Ricch.

A New York court has dismissed a copyright lawsuit against Roddy Ricch over his 2019 megahit The Box.

Singer-songwriter Greg Perry filed a lawsuit in December 2022, alleging that The Box ripped off the 1975 R&B song Come On Down, which Perry co-wrote.

In a ruling issued on Monday (February 12), US District Court Judge Analisa Torres granted a motion to dismiss requested by Roddy Ricch (legal name Roderick Wayne Moore, Jr.) and the other defendants in the case, which included Peermusic III Ltd., Kobalt Music Publishing America, Warner-Tamerlane Publishing and Atlantic Records.

“No reasonable jury could find that the works are substantially similar,” Judge Torres wrote in her order to dismiss, which can be read in full here.

In his original complaint, filed with the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, Perry asserted that a “comparative analysis of the beat, lyrics, hook, rhythmic structure, metrical placement, and narrative context by a musicology expert demonstrates clearly and convincingly that The Box is an unauthorized duplication and infringement of certain elements of Come On Down

The Box is so substantially similar to Come On Down that ordinary observers would accurately perceive that the two songs sound the same, which they do.”

Despite the fact that other artists legally licensed the song, “defendants chose not to license the musical composition from plaintiffs and instead chose to intentionally infringe upon the copyright,” asserted the complaint, which can be read in full, here.

However, Judge Torres disagreed with that assessment and rejected the claims of similarity that Perry made in his complaint, either for not actually being similar, or for being basic elements of music that can’t be copyrighted.

Come On Down “is a soul song that contains a melodic tune, while The Box is a hip-hop song delivered in a monotone rap… The tempo of the [Come On Down] (96 beats per minute) is significantly faster than that of The Box (58 beats per minute)… [Come On Down] involves acoustic instruments; the instrumental to The Box ‘consists primarily of synthesizer’,” Judge Torres wrote.

“The ‘feel’ of the two songs is also dissimilar: [Come On Down] is a sentimental song about ‘love and heartbreak,’ while The Box is a braggadocious song about ‘amassing wealth, sleeping with multiple women, and being more skilled than other rappers’.”

“No reasonable jury could find that the works are substantially similar.”

US District Court Judge Analisa Torres

The judge added: “In light of the significant dissimilarities, no average lay observer listening to the songs would ‘regard the aesthetic appeal as the same’.”

Judge Torres dismissed the case “with prejudice,” meaning Perry can’t refile the lawsuit.

Come On Down was released in 1975 on Casablanca Records and published by Peabody & Company, which was owned by Perry at the time. It hit #24 on Billboard’s R&B charts, and has been sampled a number of times in various tracks, including Young Jeezy’s 2008 track Wordplay and Yo Gotti’s 2016 track I Remember.

The Box was the fourth single off of Roddy Ricch’s 2019 debut album Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial. However, even before it was released as a single, the track became a hit, spending 11 weeks at No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and reaching No.1 in several other countries, including Canada, New Zealand and Hungary.

The track received three nominations at the 2021 Grammy Awards, and was named Apple Music’s Song of the Year. The most popular version of the song’s video has 559 million views on YouTube, and the track has amassed more than 1.8 billion streams on Spotify.

Roddy Ricch also faced a copyright lawsuit over his and DaBaby’s 2020 hit Rockstar.

In that lawsuit, filed at around the same time as the suit involving The Box, producer JuJu Beatz (legal name Craig Mims) alleged that Rockstar ripped off his track Selena, which he said he sent to DaBaby’s reps in 2019.

Court records show that the case was dismissed at Mims’ request.

Such dismissals typically happen when a plaintiff changes their mind about the strength of their claim, or has reached an out-of-court settlement with the defendant.Music Business Worldwide

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