I remember watching SNL as a youngster and thinking what a great gig it would be to play guitar in the house band. Meet stars, rock out, and work one day a week!
It turns out that the guitarist I imagined being has become one of the biggest producers in the world. Dr. Luke has worked for pretty much everyone who’s had a hit in the last 6 or so years by creating some of the catchiest (or annoying) songs you’ve heard on the radio. Britney Spears, Ke$ha, Katy Perry, have all had a ride on Dr.Luke’s hit stick. But being the biggest hitmaker has it’s problems, like getting sued every other day for plagiarism.
…A number of his songs, including Lavigne’s “Girlfriend,” Chris Daughtry’s “Feels Like Tonight,” and Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok” have triggered legal disputes.
If creating songs has its dangers in an era where amateur musiciologists like to go on YouTube and play copyright cop, Dr. Luke seems to have found one legal antidote — the preemptory defamation strike.
…Dr. Luke is also currently engaged in a similar kind of dispute with the songwriter Chrissy over claims of copying her song, “My Slushy” to create Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok.” The lawsuit is still pending, but integral to the case is a side-by-side video on YouTube that was posted by one of Chrissy’s fans.
In an interview with American Songwriter earlier this year, Dr. Luke described his troubles this way:
“These days, anyone can put two songs up and make a mash-up by changing the key of this one and say, ‘Oh, these songs are similar.’ A lot of things are similar. But you don’t get sued for being similar. It needs to be the same thing. Almost doesn’t count. Close but no cigar. People are suing for close. There are standard chord progressions that everyone uses. There are plenty of songs that are really similar and they never sued each other. We are a very litigious society today. You can fall on the sidewalk and sue the city.”
“By falsely claiming to Sony Music Label Group that ‘Tik Tok’ infringes ‘My Slushy’, these Defendants caused RCA/Jive… to demand indemnification based on a breach of warranty and representation solely as a result of these Defendants’ baseless claims of infringement. By these Defendants’ wrongful actions, Plaintiffs’ publishing income interest in ‘Tik Tok’ has been damaged.”
…but since plagiarism is a sensitive topic and since defamation plaintiffs can be sensitive folks, it makes sense that mere talk of possible song rip-offs would compel a famous song producer to bring allegations over allegations. Such is the creative age we live in. (More @HollywoodReporter)