Love him or hate him, Justin Bieber is undeniably one of the most popular musicians on the charts. He’s had multiple number one hits, and he’s sold out stadiums from coast to coast. However, one of his most popular songs is now being called into question.
Indie pop singer Casey Dienel, also known as White Hinterland, has accused Bieber of stealing a vocal rift from her song Ring the Bell and using it without a license for his hit song Sorry. Dienel took to social media to explain her reasoning.
“After the release of ‘Sorry,’ my lawyers sent Bieber a letter regarding the infringement, but Bieber’s team again chose to ignore me. I offered Bieber’s team an opportunity to have a private dialogue about the infringement, but they refused to even acknowledge my claim, despite the obviousness of the sample.”
Now Dienel is suing for copyright infringement, seeking an undisclosed amount in damages for legal fees and lost profits. The suit also seeks to prevent any future infringements.
Bieber and co-producer DJ Skrillex have adamantly denied the infringement. They also used social media to explain their position.
— SKRILLEX (@Skrillex) May 27, 2016
These kinds of cases are hard to predict. Plenty of other musicians have been sued for the same thing and lost in court. In order to prove infringement, Dienel’s legal team will have to prove two things: access and similarity.
Access simply means that Bieber has access to Ring the Bell, and could have heard it prior to production of his song. Ring the Bell was released publicly in 2014, and Sorry was released in 2015, so this should be pretty easy. Similarity is much harder to prove. The two songs must be similar in musical components in order for Dienel to win. The language of this law is a bit vague and leaves room for interpretation.
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