Even more good news for original copyrighted songs.
Jessica Cornish, better known as Jessie J, has knocked down the lawsuit against her. According to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, no, she did not steal a melody from a Santa Barbara indie band.
The entire lawsuit began back in 2012, when Will Loomis from the independent pop rock group Loomis & the Lust took Jessie J to court along with Universal Music Group. What was his claim? Apparently, Jessie’s hit, “Domino” copied a two-measure vocal melody from Loomis’s “Bright Red Chords.”
What did the singer and UMG do then, you ask? Easy. They filed for a summary judgment, noting that no, Loomis did not submit enough admissible evidence to support his claim that Jessie and producer Dr. Luke had access to Bright Red Chords. The district court ruled in their favor back in 2013.
What is a summary judgment, you ask? Simple. It’s a judgment entered by a court in favor of one party and against another, without the need of a full trial.
Loomis didn’t give up without a fight, however, and the case reached the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. What was his argument? Apparently, multiple intermediaries “could have passed his song on to the ‘Domino’ songwriters.” Who, exactly? Here’s where things start sounding like a crazy conspiracy theory. One theory said that it could’ve been his former guitarist, Casey Hooper, who later worked for Katy Perry, who, in turn, worked for Dr. Luke.
Was this good enough for the 9th Circuit Court? In a fantasy fiction novel, it might have been. But in real life, no, no it wasn’t. Circuit Judge Richard Clifton wrote,
“Nothing in the record shows the requisite nexus between Hooper and the Domino songwriters except for Loomis’s own speculation.”
Even worse, the song Bright Red Chords was never found to have been commercially successful, with Loomis only being able to prove 46 sales of the song.
To hammer the final nail in the coffin, the judges once again found that no, Loomis’s case was not supported by admissible evidence. Going further on the speculation part, Clifton added,
“At bottom, the record consists primarily of Loomis’s speculations of access unsupported by personal knowledge. The other evidence did not fill the breach.”
Therefore, there’s nothing to truly substantiate that the two songs were, in fact, similar. Case dismissed.
Dominos image by Philip Taylor, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC by 2.0)