On May 2, 2013, Justin Bieber, Usher, and Universal Music Corporation were slapped with a $10 million copyright infringement lawsuit by Virginia songwriters Devin Copeland (a.k.a. ‘De Rico’) and Mareio Overton. Plaintiffs accuse Bieber and the others of stealing their song “Somebody to Love” – a song which Bieber released as a hit single in 2010. Usher and Bieber later collaborated to release a remix of the song.
Plaintiffs allege they handed the song over to music industry scouts in 2008, and it was then passed along to Usher, who then gave it to Bieber. Their Complaint assert that the Bieber versions of “Somebody” infringe a valid copyright Plaintiffs obtained for the song in October of 2008, after the song appeared on Copeland’s “My Story II” album in March of that year. Plaintiffs claim that Bieber’s version of “Somebody” shares the same time signature, beat pattern, call and response element and opening lyrics as Copeland’s original composition.
The songwriters are seeking $10 million in damages, as well as several injunctions, punitive damages, attorneys’ fees and costs, termination of the various Defendants’ copyright registrations for the tune, and reimbursement for all of the profits Defendants’ made off the song.
This marks the second time that Bieber has been sued for copyright infringement. Just two years ago, Bieber’s management group EMI Music Publishing settled a federal court action brought against the star by two music managers who claimed to have contractual rights to Bieber’s “One Less Lonely Girl.”