Two Scottish songwriters Billy smith and Scott McCulloch claim that a song they pitched almost 20 years ago at the Halimton recording studio was plagiarized by the megastar "The Weeknd" who goes by the name Abel Tesfaye.
As reported by Daily Record, the Canadian singer, who recently won Artist of the Year and Album of the Year at the 2021 Juno Awards is now in for a $50 million copyright infringement battle with the two songwriters.
Songwriters Claim The Weeknd's 'A Lonely Night' is Plagiarized
As reported by Bloomberg Law, the songwriters claimed that the song was penned to a musician named Brian Clover in the studio and was "plagiarised" by The Weeknd's executives in his hit album, "Starboy".
They claim that Abel's hit single "A Lonely Night" is copyrighted from their own original track "In Need to Love." According to Smith, this cost him half a million dollars and has put his life savings on the edge.
The duo has already brought to court the case since last year. However, the US judge has dismissed the case. Now, they plan on appealing the case higher through the US Court of Appeals Ninth Circuit.
When asked about how the two found out about the potential copyrighting, they said that their co writer Brian has heard the Weeknd's song while shopping in Tapman.
They then filed a case back in 2019 under the grounds that a musicologist verifies "substantial similarities could only result from copying".
If they win a case, they could be entitled for a percentage of $50 million. They also believe that the song "A Lonely Night" should have been frozen following the dispute. However, it continues to earn royalties to this day.
The songwriters have taken a pool of lawyers who also handled the case of Led Zeppelin on "Stairway to Heaven."
Scottish Songwriters Pursue Case Against The Weeknd Despite Fighting a Giant
In an exclusive interview with Daily Record, Scott says "The music industry is like the music mafia. They cherry-pick the best songs and then say 'take it to court'. The chances are you won't win. But you've got to be in it to win it."
Persistent on winning the case, Scott still admits that going to battle with megastar The Weeknd is not an easy feat.
"The Weeknd is one of the biggest artist in the world right now. He's huge. It's very much a David and Goliath battle, he mentions.
The songwriter's song was released in 2008 under the acquisition of Universal. It was also dispersed in an online platform where music executives around the world can access them.
Despite the case being dismissed last year, the two believe they have a new set of evidence that may help them win the case this time. However, he claims that even lawyers work for the music industry, which makes justice for those against huge stars difficult to achieve.
"If the evidence we had was shown on day one we believe we would have won our case. We've had various lawyers. If there is a copyright infringement on a song the industry knows the person has to have enough money to get a lawyer, but even when you do, that lawyer works for the industry. The industry polices itself.", Billie said.
The Weeknd's lawyers have commented on the reinstatement of the lawsuit as a "frivolous move". No updates have been revealed from the Universal Music yet.
Related article: The Weeknd Reveals The 5 Songs That Defined His Career
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Written by Nikki Schmidt