19 September 2018Copyright

Poet takes Daft Punk and The Weeknd to court, again

A Somali-American poet and songwriter has accused singer The Weeknd and electronic duo Daft Punk of copying one of her songs to create hit “Starboy”.

In a $5 million lawsuit, filed at the US District Court for the Southern District of New York yesterday, September 18, ‘Yasminah’ accused the defendants of ripping off her song “Jewel of My Life”.

Her song, released in 2009, reportedly became popular with the East African diaspora.

“The Weeknd, part of the East African ancestral community living in Canada and the US, had access to and heard plaintiff’s sound recording/composition,” said the claim.

Yasminah alleged that Daft Punk’s and The Weeknd’s “ Starboy”, which was released in 2016, “copied quantitatively and qualitatively distinct, important, and recognisable portions” of her song.

She also cited a Buzzfeed article, YouTube videos and tweets that question whether “Starboy” copied “Jewel of My Life”.

“While the above articles do not include much in the way of legal analysis, they do make clear that reasonable lay listeners in the public found the material at issue to be substantially similar,” added the claim.

In 2017, Yasminah’s record producers sought damages for copyright infringement from the trio and obtained a settlement.

However, the poet claims that she did not receive any money and is therefore suing The Weeknd and Daft Punk again.

Her record producers are also named as defendants in the suit (known as the Squad defendants) and are accused of breach of contract, which Yasminah claims has damaged her in excess of $5 million.

The Somali-American poet is seeking a permanent injunction against The Weeknd and Daft Punk, statutory damages and royalties from “Starboy”.

According to the claim: “The Weeknd defendants aided and abetted and provided substantial assistance to the Squad defendants including striking the plaintiff’s signature from the settlement agreement and deceiving the Squad defendants into signing the same to breach their fiduciary duty to plaintiff.”

Yasminah is seeking $5 million from the defendants for this alleged aiding and abetting of breach of fiduciary duty, along with punitive damages.

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13 November 2019   A US court has denied The Weeknd’s motion to dismiss a copyright infringement suit against the Canadian singer over his song “A Lonely Night”.