Rick Astley’s voice ‘theft’ and the limitations of IP


Sarah Speight

Rick Astley’s voice ‘theft’ and the limitations of IP

Mick Atkins / Shutterstock.com

The famous singer is suing an American rapper for ‘stealing’ his voice, but can a voice really be protected by IP law? Sarah Speight investigates.

English pop singer Rick Astley, who found fame during the 1980s, is suing a young American rapper for ripping off his (much-parodied) voice in the chart topper “Never Gonna Give You Up”.

The song was a massive success globally after its release in 1987 and enjoyed a resurgence in the 2000s with the Rickroll’ internet meme.

Perhaps in a similar vein, “Betty (Get Money)”, written by Yung Gravy (Matthew Hauri), appears to parody Astley’s hit and features a soundalike vocalist who emulates Astley’s distinctive baritone tone.

Rick Astley, US, UK copyright