Roddy Ricch Beats ‘The Box’ Infringement Suit: ‘No Reasonable Jury Could Find That the Works Are Substantially Similar’

roddy ricch copyright lawsuit
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roddy ricch copyright lawsuit
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A federal judge has dismissed an infringement lawsuit filed against Roddy Ricch over “The Box.” Photo Credit: Wesley Tingey

Roddy Ricch has officially emerged victorious in a years-old copyright infringement lawsuit filed against him over “The Box.”

The presiding judge just recently dismissed the complaint, originally levied by California-based musician Greg Perry, with prejudice. Perry passed away last year, and an amended action moved forward with an entity called Peabody & Company listed as the sole plaintiff.

In brief, as we reported back in December of 2022, the suit alleged that elements of the 1975 track “Come On Down” had been lifted and used without permission in “The Box.”

With north of 1.8 billion Spotify plays to its credit, “The Box” remains the most-streamed song on Ricch’s debut studio album, Please Excuse Me for Being Antisocial (2019). Predictably, the Compton-born artist (along with several additional defendants, among them producer 30 Roc) pushed back against the allegations, which had been based in part on “expert musicology analysis.”

Notwithstanding the latter, the court employed an “ordinary observer test” – or, as its name suggests, a listening-based assessment of the involved works from the perspective of non-professionals – when comparing the releases and weighing the defendants’ motion to dismiss.

Now, multiple years, twists, and turns later, said observer test has produced the desired result for Roddy Ricch, who’s expected to drop his third studio album later in 2024.

“Under the ordinary observer test, no reasonable jury could find that the works are substantially similar,” Judge Analisa Torres spelled out in the dismissal order, proceeding to describe the plaintiff’s relevant creation as “a soul song that contains a melodic tune” and “The Box” as “a hip-hop song delivered in a monotone rap.”

Despite this perceived lack of readily discernible similarities between the efforts, the court reiterated that the plaintiff could in any event be entitled to relief if “protectable elements” of “Come On Down” had made their way into “The Box.”

But the elements cited by the plaintiff, including but not limited to a “two-chord progression” and “an instrumental melody that consists of an ascending scale played as a glissando,” aren’t “protectable as a matter of law,” according to the legal text.

Besides citing Ed Sheeran’s infringement-suit triumph over Structured Asset Sales, the court further explored the recording-composition distinction as it relates to the plaintiff’s claim of tonal overlap between “The Box” and “Come On Down.”

“The Musical Composition, therefore, differs from ‘The Box’ in each of the components where Plaintiff claims similarity,” Judge Torres drove home. “Under the fragmented literal similarity test, Plaintiff has failed to demonstrate that Defendants copied any protectable portion of the Musical Composition.”

Last month, Travis Scott and others were slapped with a separate infringement suit for allegedly sampling a track without permission on “Til Further Notice,” while Ice Spice was named in a complaint centering on “In Ha Mood.”