Artist News Legal

Billy Joel settles property renovation legal dispute

By | Published on Tuesday 19 April 2022

Billy Joel

Billy Joel has settled a legal battle that related to allegations he ripped off a company’s copyright protected designs for fixing up his house.

The musician was sued in 2020 by Berry Hill Development which claimed that Joel and his wife Alexis had fired the company from a home renovation project at a property in Long Island, but then basically carried on using the designs its team had produced before being fired.

Berry Hill said that the company the Joels hired to replace it – NJ Caine Architecture – had submitted new plans for the renovation work that were nearly identical to those it had originally put together for the project.

The new plans were “nearly identical to the plans, drawings, internal layout, massing and overall look of the works and plans provided by Berry Hill for and in connection with the project”, the lawsuit stated. “The defendants continue upon the site renovations of the premises utilising the works and plans owned by Berry Hill, without Berry Hill’s approval, licence or permission to do so”.

Joel tried to get the lawsuit dismissed but a magistrate judge recommended that dismissal be denied because neither of the musician’s main arguments – ie that the borrowed plans were not protectable under copyright or his new plans were substantially different – could be proven without further scrutiny.

No more scrutiny will now occur, with both sides confirming last week that a settlement had been reached.