10 Musicians And Bands Who Lost Plagiarism Lawsuits

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10 Musicians And Bands Who Lost Plagiarism Lawsuits

Plagiarism is a no-no. In music, just like writing, taking someone’s words or likeness is a forbidden thing you’re never, ever supposed to do.

Here are a plethora of cases where a musician/band lost in court due to being guilty of plagiarism. 

1.

Robin Thicke And Pharrell vs. Marvin Gaye

robin thicke


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Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams created a #1 Smash hit with “Blurred Lines.” After the pair was found copying Marvin Gaye’s 1977 hit, “Got to Give It Up,” the court made the pair pay more than $5 million to the Gaye Estates. 

2.

The Beach Boys vs. Chuck Berry

The Beach Boys in the 80's


Str Old / Reuters

Chuck Berry should be known as a honorary “Beach Boy” for how many times he inspired songs and concepts The Beach Boys created. “Surfin’ U.S.A.,” compared to Chuck Berry’s “Sweet Little Sixteen,” is one of them. Berry received publishing rights after the court ruling.

3.

Vanilla Ice vs. Queen/Freddie Mercury & David Bowie

Ice Ice Baby


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Was it a “joke”?  Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby” sampled David Bowie and Queen’s “Under Pressure.” Even though it was apparent, Vanilla Ice claimed it was a “joke” that he did not credit them and denied any of it. Ice end up paying a private number to the respective camps.

4.

Led Zeppelin vs. Willie Dixon

Led Zeppelin lead Guitarist


Michael Putland / Getty Images

In 1985, Willie Dixon took Led Zeppelin to court over the song “Whole Lotta Love” off their sophomore album. The song was an adaption of  “You Need Love” by Muddy Waters, written by Willie Dixon. The group paid an undisclosed sum to Dixon after court hearings.

5.

Led Zeppelin vs. Willie Dixon (again)

Willie Dixon


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Yes, again. This also comes from the same sophomore album. Zeppelin’s “Bring It On Home,” was a more apparent copy of “Bring It On Home,” by singer, Sonny Boy Williamson. The song was also written by Willie Dixon. This case also ended with Dixon receiving an undisclosed amount of money.

6.

George Harrison vs. The Chiffons

close up of George Harrison


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In 1981, Beatles member, George Harrison, decided to make a solo hit with, “My Sweet Lord,” a Christian-esque song that was very similar to The Chiffons’ “He’s So Fine.” Harrison was ordered to pay $587,000 and 40% of publishing rights for plagiarizing The Chiffons.

7.

Bad Bunny/Jowell & Randy vs. Missy Elliot

Bad Bunny at the Met Gala


Taylor Hill / Getty Images

“Get your Freak On” by Missy Elliot is one of the most popular songs to ever exist. “Safaera,” was a hit that was on Bad Bunny’s sophomore album,YHLQMDLG, with major reggae influence and the same six-note from “Get Your Freak On.” Missy Elliot gets 25 percent of the royalties from “Safaera.”

8.

Bruno Mars & Mark Ronson vs. The Gap Band

Bruno Mars, Mark Ronson and Lionel Richie


Larry Busacca / Getty Images for NARAS

“Uptown Funk,” released in 2014 by Bruno and Mark Ronson, was maybe the biggest hit in the world at the time. The song won several awards and had everyone excited for new Bruno. The Gap Band’s 1979 song, “Oops Upside Your Head” said the song was a copy of their jam. The Gap Band was granted 17% of “Uptown Funk” royalties and song writing credit.

9.

Black Eyed Peas vs. DJ Lynn Tolliver

The Black Eyed Peas


Steve Granitz / WireImage

Samples not being cleared is a trend we are starting to see a bit more at the end here. “My Humps” sampled DJ Lynn Tolliver’s 1983 song, “I Need a Freak.” But, it wasn’t cleared and it wasn’t given credit. DJ Lynn Tolliver was awarded nearly $1.2 million by a New York jury. 

10.

Oasis vs. The New Seekers

Oasis accepting an award on stage


Jmenternational / Getty Images

Oasis’ song, “Shakermaker,” was a hit! Even though many loved it, The Coca-Cola jingle that was made in 1971 had similarities to the Oasis song. The song is named “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing” by The New Seekers. Oasis was sued and both parties agreed on an undisclosed amount.

What do you all think? Do you see the similarities between the original songs and the song that was plagiarized? Let me know below.