From Michael Jackson to Ed Sheeran: Artists Proven to Have Plagiarized Songs

A multitude of artists have been accused of plagiarism over time, however, proving that a song is a “substantial copy” from another it is a difficult task.

Almost all the accusations remain in private agreements with whom legally the authorship does not change, however, some composers decide to go to trial and the verdict is the one that dictates the copyright of the song.

Only those can be considered plagiarism proven casesthat is, those in which a judge has ruled that it was a copy or those in which the authorship has been changed after the accusation of plagiarism.

We present you the famous topics that have been shown to be plagiarized.

Ray Parker Jr. – Ghostbusters

Is iconic song of the 80s created for the soundtrack of The Ghostbusters It has quite a controversial history.

The first choice to compose the theme of the film The Ghostbusters it was Huey Lewis & The News, nevertheless, the formation rejected the assignment. At the time, Huey Lewis was composing a theme for the film Return to the future and initially it was going to be used I want a new drug.

For its part, the team The Ghostbusters contact with Ray Parker Jr. to compose the main theme of the film that in principle it would last only 25 secondsbut they liked it so much that they decided to expand the topic.

Despite I want a new drug Y Ghostbusters came out practically at the same time, Huey Lewis sued Ray Parker Jr. for plagiarism. This lawsuit ended, like almost all accusations of plagiarism, in a confidential agreement.

The story would seem to have ended there, however, in 2001 Huey Lewis said on the program VH1 that I had received 5 million dollars for that demand. Thus, Ray Parker Jr. denounced Lewis for breaking confidentiality.

Although the copyright of the song has not changed due to the agreement between the two artists, plagiarism was proven in the trial against Huey Lewis for break the confidentiality clause of the agreement.

Michael Jackson – Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’

in 2018 quincy jonesone of the producers of Michael Jackson, assured in an interview in vulture: “I hate to talk about this publicly, but Michael stole a lot of stuff. For example, a part of the theme State of independence of Donna Summer for your BillieJean . Musical notes don’t lie, man. He was as Machiavellian as you can get.”

Speculation aside, it has only been possible to demonstrate clear plagiarism to the king of pop.

One of the best-selling albums in history is thriller. It contained the theme Wanna be Startin’ Somethin’ where Michael Jackson copied the beat of the song Soul Makossa that Manu Dibango recorded in 1972.

Michael Jackson tried to keep this plagiarism a secret so paid a substantial amount to Manu Dibango, and they reached a confidentiality agreement that did not transcend, however Rihanna entered the equation and this copy was discovered.

In 2010 Rihanna public Don´t stop the music. For this song, the artist asked permission to use the beat of Wanna be startin’ somethin’ and, after launching the theme, came the plagiarism complaint.

To avoid trouble, Rihanna decided to buy the rights of Soul Makossa to Manu Dibango.

MC Hammer – U can’t touch this

In 1990, the rapper MC Hammer published his most recognized single, U can’t touch this.

In this theme he used a sample of the theme of Rick James super freakhowever, did not ask for permission so had to go to trial.

After the trial, the credits ended up being shared already added to them Alonzo Millerco-author of the letter of super freak.

The costs of this lawsuit and the payment of copyright, together with poor monetary management, caused MC Hammer to enter bankruptcy.

Oasis – Various Themes

A Noel Gallaghercomposer of the extinct rock group Oasis, is followed by accusations of plagiarism wherever he goes, what’s more, some media nicknamed him “the king of plagiarism”.

The most famous theme of the band, wonder wallis supposedly a plagiarism of a 1968 song called Bonnie and Clyde of Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot. This has not been legally proven, however, there are several songs by the English band that have been shown to be plagiarism.

The theme melody shakermaker from 1994 is identical to the song from 1971 I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (In Perfect Harmony) of The New Seekers which was also used as a single by Coke. For this reason, a judge determined that Oasis should pay 500,000 Australian dollars to their authors by way of royalties.

In 1995, Oasis published the theme Hello and with it came another claim of plagiarism by the group Glitter who accused Gallagher of copying the 1973 theme Hello, Hello, I’m Back Again. A judge determined that the songwriters Gary Glitter and Mike Leander were to be credited as co-authors.

Similar to the previous case, when Oasis released whatever, the composer neil innes denounced the English band for plagiarism for copying How sweet to be an idiot. To avoid going to trial, the group included Innes in the song credits.

Radiohead – Creep

Radiohead accused Lana del Rey in 2018 of plagiarizing her famous theme creep in the song getfree, nevertheless, Radiohead don’t have all the rights of creep since it is plagiarism.

In 1993, The Hollies Radiohead was sued for copying The air I breathe. To prevent the lawsuit from dragging on, Radiohead admitted that they had been inspired in The Hollies song in the theme creep and for that reason they included in the credits the composers Albert Hammond and Mike Hazlewood as co-authors about the topic.

The chain of plagiarism from the original of The Hollies seems to have no end and fans also accuse Sam Smith of plagiarizing The air I breathe Y creep in the subject MidnightTrainhowever, for now they have not legally charged to the English singer.

Shakira and El Cata – Loca

The judgment on this song is quite curious since although Shakira recorded the song Crazy in two languages, she was only accused of plagiarism by the Spanish version.

In 2010, Shakira and Eduard Edwin Bello Pou (El Cata) published Crazy. At that time both artists had authorship on the song.

The denunciation of the Dominican composer Ramon Arias Vasquez it did not took her long to arrive. This assured that it was a plagiarism of the song Crazy with her tiguerea song he wrote in 1990.

In 2014 a judge sentenced: “I find that, since Bello (El Cata) copied Arias, whoever wrote Shakira’s version also indirectly copied Arias“.

The conclusion was that Shakira and El Cata would have to pay Ramón Arias for having copied their song, however, Shakira would finally get rid of this accusation since in 2018, El Cata would win a trial in which he would keep the full rights to the song Crazy.

Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke – Blurred Lines

The litigation against Blurred Lines is one of the most outstanding cases because since the sentence was known, Plagiarism complaints multiplied.

In 2013, Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke published Blurred Lines which is, without a doubt, the greatest success of both artists.

The heirs of Marvin Gaye did not take long to denounce the artists for plagiarism for their similarity to the 1977 theme Got to give it up.

After 5 years of legal dispute, a federal judge in California considered that blurred lines was plagiarism and sentenced Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke to pay 5 million dollars to Gaye’s heirs, in addition to 50% of the royalties that generated the song.

Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars – Uptown Funk

global success Uptwon Funk by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars has Multiple plagiarism lawsuits.

Some have already been dismissed, such as the one that accused Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars of plagiarizing Young Girlsa 1983 song by the band Collage. Nevertheless, The Gap Band managed to win a trial by which the training received composition credits in the song after citing similarities between Uptown Funk and his 1979 hit Oops Upside Your Head.

Ed Sheeran – Photography

Ed Sheeran is currently facing a plagiarism trial for thinking out loud and although the artist You already know what it’s like to win one of these also know what it’s like to lose and have your topic considered plagiarism.

In 2017, Ed Sheeran had to pay $20 million to the composers Thomas Leonard and Martin Harrington for the plagiarism of the topic structure Amazingcomposed for matt cardle, in the ballad photograph.

We will have to wait to see if Ed Sheeran joins the list with more than one plagiarized hit like the band Oasis or if he just sticks with demonstrable plagiarism like most artists on this list.

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From Michael Jackson to Ed Sheeran: Artists Proven to Have Plagiarized Songs

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