Will Artists Turn to Entertainment Law in Similar Song Clash?

Our NYC and Miami Entertainment Law Firm advises and represents clients in all legal matters related to music, sports, television/film, visual and literary works, modeling, online matters, and intellectual property.

Many Miami residents enjoy the upbeat songs that are released during the warm months of the year. With musicians battling for their tunes to be the songs of the summer, the influx of music heard in clubs and on the radio can cause some people to compare tracks that share particular beats and themes.

MTV VJ Dave Holmes recently noted the similarities that he perceived between Katy Perry’s new song, “Roar,” and Sara Bareilles’ tune, “Brave,” which was released in April. Implying that Perry’s song may have taken some liberties with Bareilles’ earlier track, fans of both artists have spoken out in droves about the matter.

For her part, Bareilles has benefited from the controversy and has seen her song climb the charts amidst the discussions. Perry’s representatives allege that “Roar” was written well before “Brave” came out and that no misdeeds are afoot.

While the musicians and fans sort out their perspectives on the matter, the issue does raise some interesting questions regarding entertainment law and an artist’s ability to retain copyrights on their music. Many artists sample each other’s music, but sampling requires that the musician seeking to use another artist’s sounds gain permission from a variety of other parties that can include the other artist, publisher and holder of the original recording before using parts of a track. When artists fail to gain such permissions, they can face copyright infringement charges and other serious legal problems.

Though no legal accusations have been made at this time, the Perry-Bareilles debate may rage on between fans on the internet for some time. For artists who are interested in producing music similar to others, important legal considerations should be made before parts of previously published songs are incorporated into new tunes.

Source: New York Post, “Katy Perry accused of being a copy cat with new ‘Roar’ single,” Aug. 23, 2013

Barry Chase

Barry Chase, Esq., Senior Partner at ChaseLawyers®, is a distinguished figure in the realm of sports and entertainment law, offering Harvard-level representation that is both cost-sensitive and exceptional. An honors graduate of Yale College (Phi Beta Kappa) and Harvard Law School, Chase's illustrious career commenced at a prominent Washington, D.C. law firm, now known as Wilmer Hale. Here, he honed his expertise in Communications and First Amendment law, representing media titans such as CBS, the Times-Mirror Company, and Time, Inc. in pivotal Federal Communications Commission (FCC) matters.

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