Lizzo Scores Another Major Victory In ‘Truth Hurts’ Copyright Infringement Claim

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Photo Credit: Andy Witchger / CC by 2.0

Lizzo (full name Melissa Jefferson) has scored another major victory in her much-publicized “Truth Hurts” copyright infringement lawsuit against brothers Justin and Jeremiah Raisen as well as Justin “Yves” Rothman.

The underlying legal confrontation kicked off back in October of 2019, when Lizzo sought a judicial declaration that the trio hadn’t helped her to author “Truth Hurts,” which initially released in September of 2017 and debuted as a radio single in 2019.

At the time, Lizzo specified that the individuals were threatening to publicly claim that they deserved songwriting credits on the popular work – unless they received compensation, that is – chiefly because they had co-authored the 33-year-old artist’s “Healthy” demo months before “Truth Hurts” became available to fans.

It was also alleged that Jeremiah Raisen had insisted Lizzo add the meme-inspired “100 percent” lyric to the former song; it ultimately appeared in “Truth Hurts,” and Mina Lioness, who penned the line, eventually received credit as a songwriter.

The defendants then fired back with five counterclaims, maintaining that Lizzo had “copied substantial, significant original creative expression from ‘Healthy’ to create ‘Truth Hurts.’” But the presiding judge in August of 2020 dismissed one of these actions because “even if counter-claimants are co-authors of ‘Healthy,’ they have not alleged any ownership interest in ‘Truth Hurts,’ which they claim is a derivative work of ‘Healthy.’”

These individuals and their legal team indicated that they would promptly refile said counterclaims, shifting the argument away from the idea that “Truth Hurts” had been ripped off “Healthy” and towards the concept that the former track resulted from a continuous creative process, beginning with the parties’ work on the latter effort.

The Raisen brothers and Rothman formally refiled in September of 2020, and Lizzo that same month moved to dismiss all but the second of their counterclaims. Now, Judge Dolly Gee has approved the Detroit-born artist’s request and dismissed four of the five counterclaims with prejudice.

Explaining her ruling, Judge Gee reiterated that “to establish co-ownership, a party must show that it made an independently copyrightable contribution and qualifies as an author of the alleged joint work.”

Moreover, per “a three-factor test” introduced in 2000’s Aalmuhammed v. Lee, this determination boils down to an alleged author’s creative control over the work in question, whether alleged “coauthors made objective manifestations of a shared intent to be coauthors,” and “whether the audience appeal of the work turns on both contributions.”

On the control front, the presiding judge relayed that the purported “Truth Hurts” co-writers “allege no facts demonstrating that they exercised any control over the creation of Truth Hurts independent from their contributions to Healthy.”

And while “the ‘100%’ line may indeed be a copyrightable contribution,” the aforementioned Aalmuhammed determined “that an individual can make a ‘copyrightable contribution’ and yet not become a joint author of the whole work.”

In terms of intent, the counterclaimants planned “to contribute the line and melody to the track Healthy, not to a future, undefined work” and “have alleged no facts to indicate that, at the time of the addition of the ‘100%’ line to Truth Hurts, there was an objective manifestation of shared intent to make the Raisens joint authors.”

Finally, that Lizzo decided to give a “Truth Hurts” co-writing credit to songwriter Jesse Saint John – who participated in the “Healthy” sessions – “while excluding the Raisens actually indicates the opposite of what Counterclaimants argue it does: that there was no shared intent for the Raisens to be joint authors of Truth Hurts.”

Judge Gee also granted Lizzo and her counsel 14 days to respond to the sole remaining counterclaim, seeking “an accounting of revenues from the use of Healthy in Truth Hurts.

9 Responses

    • Fat Bitch

      Agree. You always post idiotic comments.

  1. Duh

    Lizzo wins another battle over a song she didn’t write for the people who wrote it from people who said they wrote it….

    Lizzo didn’t write it her staff writers on her label did… Just saying she’s not a song writer….

    • Mike

      Actually, you’re wrong. She has written many songs…making her a songwriter. Settle your jealously.

      • Ok White Knight

        On does she Mike?

        Or Ashley

        This is how I know you know nothing about the music industry. Your ignorance about the industry proof that someone more cunning than you hads charged you with the public trust to report accurately on these matters chose you for this reason. Imposters all of you. As thick as the grease in your hair. None of these idiots who sign can write. The industry takes great precautions to insure the “Talent” is lacking talent. they make more money and can toss away the Lizzo when ever they want Mike Ashley.

        God you guys suck… You helped them do this to us. Mike Ashley

        We will remember

        • Mike

          Who the fuck is Ashley? You moron, I’ve been in the music business for over 30 years. Look up her writing credits. She’s a songwriter. That was your assertion, originally, that she wasn’t. Now, you choose to write a meandering rant that has zero point. Seek mental help. You need it.

  2. Burt

    In other news, Porky Pig took a dump that came out all skittles.

  3. Mike

    Who the hell is Ashley? You moron, I’ve been in the music business for over 30 years. Look up her writing credits. She’s a songwriter. That was your assertion, originally, that she wasn’t. Now, you choose to write a meandering rant that has zero point. Seek mental help. You need it.