Copyright Infringement Lawsuit Against The Weeknd Is Placed on Pause

The Weeknd performing in 2012. Photo Credit: David Hwang

Experimental rock band Yeasayer’s Black Panther copyright-infringement lawsuit against The Weeknd has been postponed because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The plaintiffs and defendants submitted an extension request to U.S. District Judge Lorna G. Schofield, who approved it today. Now, The Weeknd and Universal Music Group’s response is due by April 29th, while pre-conference materials must be submitted on or before April 9th. The original deadline called for a response to be issued by March 30th.

Yeasayer filed suit against The Weeknd in February (UMG received the complaint on March 9th, however), alleging that the singer’s “Pray for Me” track, which he created as part of the Black Panther soundtrack, derived from Yeasayer’s “Sunrise” song. The Weeknd’s legal team intends to dispute the allegation, though the artist hasn’t addressed the matter publicly.

As a whole (and particularly after accounting for the far-reaching effects of the coronavirus pandemic), The Weeknd has had a solid month.

The 30-year-old released his first studio album in four years, After Hours, last week, and positive critical reviews have accompanied its immense popularity among fans. Moreover, the 14-track work quickly topped various album charts and broke the existing record for the most “pre-adds” on Apple Music. Plus, at the time of this piece’s writing, The Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights” had secured the top position on Spotify’s United States Top 50 chart.

Notably, The Weeknd hasn’t yet cancelled his long-planned tour in support of After Hours. The 68-show concert series is slated to kick off on June 11th, with a performance in The Weeknd’s native Canada. If the North American leg proceeds as expected, The Weeknd will make stops throughout the U.S. and Canada into early September, before heading to Europe in October.

In other copyright-infringement developments, a judge recently overturned the $2.8 million verdict that a California jury levied against Katy Perry in 2019. Ariana Grande’s “7 Rings” infringement suit might also be tossed out, and earlier this week, several music publishers scored a $189,500 infringement ruling against Wolfgang’s.

Stay tuned for updates about The Weeknd’s copyright-infringement lawsuit and After Hours tour.