Blatant Rip-off? Pitbull’s ‘Timber’ vs. Lee Oskar’s ‘San Francisco Bay’…

This is the subject of $3 million lawsuit, filed by several writers who allege that Pitbull blatantly ripped off their 1978 song, ‘San Francisco Bay’.


19 Responses

  1. toobadforyall


    From WIKI

    “The song interpolates “San Francisco Bay” (1979) by Danish harmonica player Lee Oskar, which was written by Lee Oskar, Keri Oskar, and Greg Errico.”

    • Paul Resnikoff


      Sounds good enough, except it’s opened the door to a $3 mm lawsuit. So let’s see.

  2. CyberpunkDave5K

    It’s pretty close. It sounds like the tempo is just a bit faster on the Pitbull song and overall it sounds like they are using the same notes. It’s somewhat of a tough one. The whole thing about samples is still pretty complicated because technically the Pitbull overall as a song doesn’t sound anything like San Francisco Bay except for that one small part.

    It’s possible that the Pitbull song didn’t sample it but that seems somewhat unlikely. If the producer did sample it I don’t get why they didn’t just compose something original in the same style.

  3. SigEp1097

    Lee Oskar is credited as a writer in “Timber.” That should close this discussion as it is obviously a sample.

  4. CyberpunkDave5K

    Reading some other articles about this it sounds like Sony really screwed up. It’s speculated that they paid a different license holder but not the songwriters.

    I honestly don’t get why sampling is such a big thing especially with these big label pop songs. They have the money to pay someone to do something original so I don’t get why they don’t. They know they are just going to have to pay out the ass later when the original songwriters find out.

  5. Vesper

    Isn’t this what he’s done his entire career?

  6. JAmatulli

    Writing good original music is hard. That is why people steal other peoples compositions. Borrowing has always been part of music. But borrowing entails taking part of a section of a composition not the whole section. In other words, you take a piece of a melody or a drum riff or harmony/rhythm but not all of it combined. That is just taking someone’s intellectual property and calling it your own (aka stealing).

    • Humanbot

      They have the same chord progression and the featured a melody is a portion of a riff in SFB, in which is improvised most of the time and hardly featured, not to mention it’s basic pentatonic stuff. I think the instrumentation and chord progression is throwing everyone off. Are all blues licks going to be off limits now if the song is 6/8 with electric guitar?

      The song was clearly not sampled being as the notes are different, so cash grab?

      I’d say (4 min approx) is mimicked by the song from one republic – counting stars. It has more in common with it. Even with that there is enough variation to warrant it being called original.

  7. really?

    B.S. headline – this is some kind of complex legal situation. TImber is not ripping of anything and you know it. Lee Oskar is credited as a songwriter and Sony did a licensing deal for the copyright. Why don’t you do some, oh you know, what do they call it? REPORTING that’s it, and find out what’s really happening here?

  8. Thedenmaster

    Notice they don’t show Keisha much? Very quick clips they like are hiding her. Harmonicas don’t fit in any music but country. This track will pass faster than a bad fart.

    • Sal

      Little Walter isn’t country. Also Big Walter. Revolutionized harmonica playing

    • Dave

      Like the famous harmonica-playing country star Stevie Wonder?

  9. dubdotdash

    NY Daily News reports that “The suit says Pitbull’s record company, Sony, “might have obtained a license” to use the song from a different license holder, but the company didn’t get it from the songwriters.” Which sounds like the songwriters got cut out of the deal, somehow.

  10. Josh

    Lee Oskar, Keri Oskar and Greg Errico are credited as songwriters of Timber on ASCAP. I would have thought that would be enough to ensure they would get paid.


    Lee Oskar is the original harmonica player for WAR. He is not JUST a harmonica player. I KNOW everyone and their mama knows, ‘Lowrider’, ‘Why Can’t We Be Friends?’, ‘Cisco Kid’, ‘Spill The Wine’, ‘Slippin’ Into Darkness’, and many more by WAR. That’s his harmonica sound on all WAR music. Lee Oskar was selling out concert arenas while Pitbull was still in pampers. Whoever produced ‘Timber’ should have done their homework and personally asked Lee Oskar to collaborate, instead of going the “cheap” way by stealing someone else’s art. Pitbull’s producers – “Pretty soon you’re gonna pay, YEAH!”

  12. William

    Seriously! A deaf man would know this is the tune from the original country hit Timber, from so many years earlier. Perhaps i should write the judge ….

  13. Charlie Huston

    It is pretty close I think I will use it for the fashion parade for my unit I am in. High schoolers teenagers will love this song if they hear it.

  14. Amanda

    This is a very nice song. I love music music is my life I can’t live without it