I have good news and bad news, which one should I start with? The maid ? OK: justice has ruled, “Shape Of You” is not plagiarism: you can therefore continue to hum it shamelessly! The bad ? This top may make you lose faith in humanity. Hard hard to realize that some music that has made us dance for years is actually pumped on the compositions of lesser known artists. Bouhouuuu it’s not beautiful!
1. Ed Sheeran – Shape of you
” I’m in love with the shape of youuuu you, we push and pull like a magnet doooo” (are you going to get it out of your head, now, hihi): THE planetary success of 2017. Small problem: artists Sami Chokri and Ross O’Donoghue have accused the British singer of having copied the melody of their song “Oh Why”. Finally, justice has just decided: Ed has not committed plagiarism. Phew.
2. Calogero – If only he could miss me
In addition to being particularly depressing, this song is also a big fat plagiarism! In 2016, Laurent Feriol, a sound engineer from the Southwest won his case before the Court of Cassation, after accusing the artist of being very largely inspired by one of his songs (“Les chansons artist”).
“As true as I can’t stop thinking about it / If only I could plagiaeeee him / Is he gonna criiiiise me? / Stealing music is not a criiiimeeee (yes!) / I only have one prayer for him / If only / He could not denounce me »
3. Nicky Minaj – Sorry
In 2018, “Sorry” went viral all over the world. If the track is catchy, it also uses samples of “Baby Can I Hold You”, composed and performed by Tracy Chapman. Minaj had contacted the artist to ask him for permission to use his melody. A request refused by Chapman. So… Minaj released the track anyway! Sorry but not sorry. After two years of proceedings and to avoid a new lawsuit, “The Queen of the rap” finally decided to settle this small problem amicably by paying 450,000 dollars to the folk artist.
4. Led Zeppelin – Stairway to heaven
Doubt will have hovered for 6 years, but justice has decided in 2020: Stairway to heaven is not plagiarism. Yet this is the accusation made by the group Spirit, judging Staiway to heaven very close to their song “Taurus”.
5. Daft Punk & The Weeknd – Starboy
Starboy formalizes the return of Daft Punk in 2016. It is a global success, with a clip that now has more than 2 billion views on Youtube. For the American artist Yasminah, the work is actually directly pumped from Hooyo, a song she co-wrote and published in 2009. After taking legal action against the 3 artists, she claims 5 million euros in damages and interests. I let you listen and make up your own mind!
6. Shakira – Loca
More than accused, Sony was sentenced for copyright infringement in 2014. The famous piece is in fact an illegal copy of a song by Dominican composer Ramon Arias Vasquez, known as “Arias”, written in 1998 and covered by “el Cata” in 2007. I let you listen… Plagiarism is, indeed, quite… Obvious? From melody to lyrics. Zero effort to camouflage the thing, what.
7. Lana Del Rey – Get Free
Finally, no condemnation in this story, but Lana Del Rey was still publicly accused by Radiohead of being largely inspired by their song “Creep” for “Get Free”. Get free to plagiarize a bit, but get free to continue interpreting the title, since the matter seems to have been settled between the two parties. It must be said that the band is used to this kind of situation: it’s really not the first song that strangely resembles their composition…
8. Katy Perry – Dark horse
In 2019, Katy Perry was found guilty of plagiarism for “Dark Horse”. She is accused of having copied the beat of “Joyful Noise” by rapper Flame. Finally, she is cleared in March 2022, after appealing the conviction. If the beat is close, the lyrics don’t have much to do: Flame talks about the good Lord and his faith, Katy Perry about flirt and ass, more or less. One beat, two moods.
9. David Guetta – The list is long (it’s not the name of a song, the list is just really long)
“Dangerous”, “This one’s for you”, “The death of EDM” or even “Titanium”: so many titles for which David Guetta has been accused of plagiarism by other authors, DJs, or performers, in particular between 2015 and 2016. In 2014, he won another lawsuit alongside Will.I.am, accused by Bryan Pringle of having copied elements of his title “Take A Dive”, released in 1999, for the more than famous…” I gotta feel”.
10. Miley Cyrus – We Can’t Stop
The accusation was made by Michael May, a Jamaican songwriter, in March 2018. This time it’s not about the melody but about the lyrics: in her song, Miley utters “We run the things, thins don’t we run”. However, in 1988, May had released the title… “We run the tings, things no we run” (a hit which reached the 1st place of the Tops in Jamaica). Sued for 300 million dollars, Cyrus’ lawyers finally reached an agreement with the Jamaican singer.
11. Beyoncé – The list is long and varied (it’s still not the name of a song)
On the music side, it is “Drunk in love”, sung with her husband Jay-Z, which is singled out. A Hungarian singer accuses Queen B of having cheerfully copied the folk theme of her title “Bajba, Bajba Pelem”, recorded in 1995. But that’s not all! Beyoncé was also accused of plagiarizing… Choreographies! Yes yes. The Belgian choreographer Anne Teresa considers the dance of her music video Countdown identical to her creation Rosas danst Rosas (1983). Same accusation on the side of Khia: the rapper accuses Bee of having copied on her clip “My Neck, My Back (Lick it)” for her clip “Party”.
12. Pharell Williams and Robin Thicke – Blurred Lines
A song that definitely has everything going for it… Extremely borderline lyrics, judged to encourage rape and domestic violence by several feminist groups, an ultra-reductive and sexualized clip and… a partially plagiarized song on “Got to Give It Up”, sung by Marvin Gaye in 1977. Found guilty, Pharell and Robin Thicke had to pay 5 million dollars in compensation to the singer’s heirs. To finish disgusting you with this song: Emily Ratajkowski accused Robin Thicke of having sexually assaulted her during the filming of the clip. Here, here…
13. Coldplay – Viva la vida
The favorite song on supermarket playlists could be… A pale copy of a Joe Satriani song! In December 2008, the guitarist sued Coldplay and Capitol Records, alleging copyright infringement of his song “If I Could Fly” (2004). The charges were eventually dropped in 2009, likely after an out-of-court settlement. Viva la vida, viva la vida, viva plagiarism, yeah!!