| 10 Jun 2023
Justin Bieber and Usher Face $10 Million Copyright Lawsuit

MUMBAI: On Thursday, 18 June, a US appeals court ordered pop singer Justin Bieber and musician Usher, to abide by a $10 million copyright infringement lawsuit. It claimed that the singers illegally copied parts of a song composed by two Virginia songwriters.

The plaintiffs – Devin Copeland, an R&B singer known as De Rico, and his songwriting partner Mareio Overton, claimed that three versions of the song ‘Somebody to Love’ recorded by Bieber, Usher or both, shared the beat pattern, time signature, and similar chords and lyrics with their song of the same name. The plaintiffs alleged that music scouts had played their 2008-written song for Usher, who then later brought it to Bieber.

Circuit Judge Pamela Harris wrote for the appeals court, “After listening to the Copeland song and the Bieber and Usher songs as wholes, we conclude that their choruses are similar enough and also significant enough that a reasonable jury could find the songs intrinsically similar.” Notably, back in 2014, a federal judge had ruled out the appeal saying that the songs were not similar at all.

‘Somebody to Love’ entered the UK Singles Chart at forty-seven in the first week of June 2010. In the succeeding week the single reached thirty-three where it reached its peak. In Australia, ‘Somebody to Love’ entered the chart at 47 in the same week. The following week, the single rose to its peak position of number 20. It also peaked at 20 and 36 on the US Pop Songs chart and US Latin Pop Songs, respectively. The track also peaked within the top 20 in Germany and New Zealand, the top 30 of Austria, and elsewhere in Switzerland and on the Belgian charts. Its numerous chartings in Europe allowed the song to peak at number 33 on the European Hot 100.

Among the other defendants were publishers such as Vivendi SA's Universal Music Publishing Group and Sony Corp's Sony/ATV Music Publishing. Defence lawyers did not immediately respond to requests for comment.