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Song-theft case against Justin Bieber and Usher dismissed for a second time

By | Published on Tuesday 10 January 2017

Justin Bieber

A US judge last week dismissed the long-running song-theft lawsuit against Justin Bieber and his old mucker Usher over their 2010 track ‘Somebody To Love’. And while the Bieber hit wasn’t a copy, last week’s judgement was, in that it’s the second time the plagiarism allegations made against the popstars over this song have been dismissed.

As previously reported, Devin Copeland and Mareio Overton first claimed in 2013 that Bieber’s ‘Somebody To Love’ featured various lyrical and stylistic similarities to a song they wrote with the same title, which Copeland released under the name De Rico in 2008. Copeland also claimed that he gave a copy of his recording to Usher via the star’s mum, giving him an opportunity to hear the original.

The case was initially dismissed in 2014, but was then reinstated on appeal in 2015. Judge Douglas Miller then reviewed the matter and stated last November that he wasn’t convinced by any of the various explanations the claimants had now given for how Bieber and his songwriting partners had been exposed to their song, including the Usher’s mum route. Not least because the core songwriting team behind the Bieber hit – Heather Bright and production trio The Stereotypes – finished the original version of the song in November 2009, and there’s no real evidence that they could have heard Copeland’s ‘Somebody To Love’ before that time.

Miller’s conclusions were then passed back to Arenda Wright Allen, who was the judge who originally dismissed the case back in 2014. Now backed by Miller, she concurred with his viewpoint on the matter, again stating the claimants had not sufficiently demonstrated anyone involved in the Bieber hit had had access to their song, and this time dismissed the lawsuit “with prejudice”, meaning it cannot be brought again.