Sam Smith ‘Dancing With a Stranger’ Copyright Suit Dismissed With Prejudice After 18 Months

sam smith dancing with a stranger lawsuit
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sam smith dancing with a stranger lawsuit
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A federal judge has dismissed with prejudice the copyright infringement lawsuit filed against Sam Smith and others over “Dancing with a Stranger.” Photo Credit: erintheredmc

A federal judge has officially dismissed with prejudice a copyright infringement lawsuit filed against Sam Smith, Normani, and others over “Dancing with a Stranger.”

Judge Wesley L. Hsu just recently ordered the copyright complaint “dismissed on the merits with prejudice,” after Sam Smith, Normani, and their legal team took initial steps last summer to have the action tossed.

Levied in March of 2022 by a company called Sound and Color, the suit alleged that the defendant artists had lifted components of a 2015 track, uploaded to YouTube as “Dancing With Strangers,” to create their much-streamed (and similarly titled) release.

Moving past the case’s multifaceted background details (which DMN previously covered at length), singer-songwriter Jordan Vincent was said to have penned “Dancing With Strangers” in early 2015 with one Christopher Miranda.

Vincent then started “extensively shopping” the track and a corresponding music video “around the industry,” per the original text, before uploading the work to SoundCloud in 2016 as well as other platforms in 2017.

Pointing to purportedly shared elements of the works’ lyrics, music videos, and more, the suit explored the “extraordinary musical similarity between the songs” and the alleged ways that the defendants could have listened to and drawn from “Dancing With Strangers.”

“The hook/chorus in both songs—the most significant part and artistic aspect of these works—contains the lyrics ‘dancing with a stranger’ being sung over a nearly identical melody and musical composition,” the plaintiff alleged in the 80-page complaint. “In both songs, the title, hook, chorus, lyrics, and musical composition are all the same—and are repeated throughout the song giving both songs their identities.”

Meanwhile, as part of the dismissal motion, Sam Smith took aim at an alleged overlap between direct and secondary infringement claims, perceived issues stemming from when the plaintiff’s work was copyrighted, and the alleged absence of evidence supporting the infringement of the recording itself, among other things.

Now, as mentioned at the outset, Judge Hsu has dismissed the suit with prejudice – making clear that Sound and Color shall “take nothing,” but opting against awarding legal fees to the defense.  

“Defendants shall not recover costs because they did not specify their costs request in their Motion for Summary Judgment papers,” the judge penned in his brief dismissal order.

Last month, Freeplay Music and CNN settled their own infringement battle, and Future emerged victorious in a much-publicized copyright dispute concerning “What I Think About It.” Additionally, August saw Sony Music and Triller put their copyright confrontation to rest, as Twitter/X moved to dismiss a massive suit submitted by the National Music Publishers’ Association.