24 October 2019CopyrightSaman Javed

Lizzo sues over plagiarism claims; credits ‘DNA test’ tweet

US singer Lizzo, the artist behind the record-breaking single “Truth Hurts”, has hit back at a trio of songwriters who are making an “illegitimate claim to co-own” her work.

The preemptive lawsuit, filed yesterday October 23 at the US District Court for the Central District of California, takes aim at two brothers, Justin and Jeremiah Raisen, and a third songwriter, Justin Rothman.

As previously reported by WIPR’s sister publication TBO, in an Instagram post on October 15, the Raisens’ claimed they helped write the lyrics for “Truth Hurts” in a studio session with Lizzo and Rothman.

They alleged that during the April 2017 session, another songwriter “pulled up a meme on his phone based on a tweet that read: ‘I did a DNA test and found out I’m 100% that bitch’”.

According to the Raisens, it was Jeremiah’s idea to include the line in the song.

In her complaint, Lizzo asked the court to grant a declaration that both the Raisens and Rothman did not collaborate with her on “Truth Hurts”.

In contrast, Lizzo said that in April this year, the Raisens and their music publisher “expressly withdrew any claim to Truth Hurts … and assured Lizzo that they were making no claims to the work”.

“Despite their clear, unequivocal, and repeated renunciations, this September the Raisens purported to reinstate their wholly unfounded claims after they saw ‘Truth Hurts’ become a hit in a bad faith effort to capitalize on Lizzo’s success,” the filing said.

Additionally, Lizzo denied the Raisens’ claims that it was Jeremiah’s idea to include the line from the meme in the song.

“They did not come up with the idea of including the lyrics in the unreleased demo; they did not help Lizzo decide how to sing the lyrics in the unreleased demo; and they do not co-own that work,” she said.

The meme in question was inspired by a tweet, which was composed by Mina Lioness.

In September, Mina Lioness took to Twitter to criticise the singer, after learning that Lizzo had applied to register “100% That Bitch” as a trademark covering merchandise and music.

Responding to the news, Mina Lioness said that “what I cannot get over is how brazen Lizzo and her team have been in ignoring my whole presence”.

“They’re doing it because they know I have no capital to address her,” she added.

In a tweet posted to her Twitter account yesterday, Lizzo addressed the various allegations of plagiarism, and announced that she has now credited Mina Lioness as a writer of “Truth Hurts”.

“In 2017, while working on a demo, I saw a meme that resonated with me, a meme that made me feel like 100% that bitch,” the singer wrote.

“I sang that line in the demo and I later used the line in Truth Hurts,” she confirmed.

But she rebuked the Raisens’ and Rothman’s claims.

“The men who now claim a piece of Truth Hurts did not help me write any part of the song. They had nothing to do with the line or how I chose to sing it. “There was no one in the room when I wrote Truth Hurts, except me, Ricky Reed, and my tears,” she said.

“That song is my life, and its words are my truth. I later learned that a tweet inspired the meme. The creator of the tweet is the person I am sharing my success with … not these men. Period,” she added.

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2 March 2020   A trio of songwriters who claim that they deserve credit for Lizzo’s record-breaking single “Truth Hurts” have fired back at a pre-emptive lawsuit filed by Lizzo in October last year.
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