Legal Drama

Alicia Keys SUED for Copyright Infringement Over ‘Girl On Fire’

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Alicia Keys Sued for Girl on FireAlicia Keys was on fire until the recent lawsuit claiming copyright infringement of her song ‘Girl on Fire.’

THR, Esq. reports in pertinent part:

“Alicia Keys’ “Girl on Fire” is featured prominently in a current American Express commercial and this week sits at No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100. It’s also the subject of a copyright infringement lawsuit filed last week in California federal court.

The plaintiff is Earl Shuman, an accomplished songwriter who in 1962 co-authored the composition, “Lonely Boy,” a song that reached No. 2 on Billboard’s chart in 1970 after being recorded by Eddie Holman as “Hey There Lonely Girl.”

Shuman believes there’s something about Keys’ song that sounds too familiar. Unfortunately, his lawsuit is rather bereft of important details, substituting an entertainment blogger’s ear in lieu of any demonstration of substantial similarity between “Girl on Fire” and “Lonely Boy/Girl.”

That’s not to say there won’t be people out there who won’t compare the two songs (here and here) and spot a likeness, particularly in the way that Keys intones three notes while singing the words “lonely girl.”

One of the people who noted a supposed similarity was Roger Friedman at Showbiz411, who wrote in late November of what he believed to be an uncredited sample. “In the middle of the song, Alicia sings a couplet or so from Eddie Holman’s 1970 classic ‘Hey There Lonely Girl,'” he wrote. “The song was written by Leon Carr and Earl Shuman, who are both gone to rock ‘n’ roll heaven. . .”

For the equally legal minded like me, THR, Esq. also has a copy of the complaint that you can download.

Visit my discussions on copyright infringement and damages as a result of infringement under U.S.A law here.

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Africa Music Law™

AFRICA MUSIC LAW™ (AML) is a pioneering music business and entertainment law blog and podcast show by Fashion and Entertainment Lawyer Ms. Uduak Oduok empowering the African artist and Africa's rapidly evolving entertainment industry through brilliant music business and entertainment law commentary and analysis, industry news, and exclusive interviews.

Credited for several firsts in the fashion and entertainment industry, Ms. Uduak is also a Partner and Co-Founder of Ebitu Law Group, P.C. where she handles her law firm’s intellectual property law, media, business, fashion, and entertainment law practice areas. She has litigated a wide variety of cases in California courts and handled a variety of entertainment deals for clients in the USA, Africa, and Asia.

Her work and contributions to the creative industry have been recognized by numerous organizations including the National Bar Association, The American University School of Law and featured in prestigious legal publications in the USA including ABA Journal and The California Lawyer Magazine. She is also an Adjunct Professor at the prestigious Academy of Arts University in San Francisco.
For legal representation inquiries, please email (uduak@ebitulawgrp.com). For blog related inquiries i.e. advertising, licensing, or guest interview requests, please email (africamusiclaw@gmail.com). Thank you for visiting Africa Music Law™.

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