Cirque Du Soleil Sues Justin Timberlake Over Song Sample

Cirque Du Soleil Sues Justin Timberlake Over Song Sample

According to the Daily Mail, Cirque Du Soleil  has filed a lawsuit against Justin Timberlake claiming that the singer used a sample on the Don’t Hold The Wall song without permission.

The lawsuit was filed yesterday (March 31st) in federal court in New York.  The suit claims that Justin Timberlake, along with producer Timbaland and Sony Music Entertainment are liable for the unauthorized use of a sample on the track, “The Don’t Hold the Wall”.  The song appears on Timberlake’s 20/20 album, and the lawsuit alleges the song lifted the clip from Cirque Du Soleil’s song, “Steel Dream”.

The song that they claim Justin Timberlake ‘stole’ from was part of an album that sold more than 2 million copies, and as a result of alleged copyright infringement, Cirque Du Soleil is seeking $800,000 in damages.

The lawsuit comes after a string of high-profile copyright infringement cases. Last year, Marvin Gaye’s family sued Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke for ‘copying’ Gaye’s Got To Give It Up song in their hit song Blurred Lines.  Marvin Gaye’s family won the $7.4 million lawsuit as the judge found significant similarities between the two.

Pharrell fired back after the verdict of the case, saying that these type of cases ”handicaps any creator out there who is making something that might be inspired by something else… If we lose our freedom to be inspired we’re going to look up one day and the entertainment industry as we know it will be frozen in litigation.”

In some respects this is true, everything is inspired by something that already exists. But, we need to draw the line between inspirational works and works that are simply copied without the correct permissions. Also, in the case where an actual sample is used without the permission of the content owner it’s a more clear-cut case of infringement as opposed to a case where two songs have similar sounds or chords.

 

 

(Image by J Vettorino, Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic, cc by 2.0)

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