A DISCUSSION OF LAW AND JOURNALISM

Tag: Usher

Will Usher Have to Pay Up For Stealing Hit Song?

By Nadia-Elysse Harris

2004 was a fantastic year for R&B superstar Usher Raymond.  His album, Confessions, was certified ten times platinum.  His love life was the topic of discussion on every entertainment news and blog site.  And his hit song “Yeah” was played at every high school senior’s prom…at least three times.

In many ways Confessions was the peak of Usher’s career. Seven years and a couple of not as successful albums later, a little known group filed suit alleging that “Burn,” the second single on Usher’s hit album, was so similar to a song on their not-so-hit album that it had to have been stolen – a claim that could leave the famous singer’s pockets burning.

Ernest L. Straughter claims that a 1998 song he penned for the group “Reel Tight” entitled “No More Pain” shares considerable similarities with “Burn” including the song’s introduction, repeated melodic sequence and harmonic progressions.  Mr. Straughter is suing for copyright infringement and in September, a California judge ruled that the case holds enough weight to go forward to trial.

Billboard.com did a great job of outlining the specific claims in the suit, but didn’t take the extra step of analyzing Mr. Straughter’s likelihood of success.  Lucky for you, that’s where LASIS comes in.   (more…)

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