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Los Angeles – Justin Bieber and Skrillex are fighting back against copyright infringement claims related to their multi-platinum song “Sorry.” A suit filed in Nashville federal court by singer-songwriter Casey Dienel, who performs as White Hinterland, claims that “Sorry” uses a vocal riff from her song “Ring the Bell,” which was released on her album “Baby” in 2014.
The sound in question is a female vocal riff which is sampled and processed electronically to sound more like an instrument, and the two samples do sound remarkably similar, although Hinterland’s riff consists of four notes to Bieber’s five. However, in response to the charges, Skrillex posted a video on Instagram of the recording session in which the vocal loop for “Sorry” was created, in order to prove it was not stolen from Hinterland.
In the video, Skrillex is seen creating the riff from the vocals of another female, who is also one of the writers of “Sorry.” While this may prove it is not actually Hinterland’s voice in “Sorry,” that doesn’t mean that Skrillex and his collaborators didn’t attempt to recreate the riff after hearing Hinterland’s song. The copyright infringement case is bolstered by the revelation that Diplo, a frequent production partner of Skrillex, actually had the Hinterland song on his hard drive.
Hinterland’s lawsuit says her attorney sent a cease and desist letter to Bieber’s lawyer and manager about the alleged infringement but they didn’t respond. The singer is now asking a Tennessee court to order Bieber and his crew to pay damages, and for an injunction barring them from using that piece of music.
Skrillex has now posted a short video on Twitter using an acapella version of “Sorry” from the song’s writing sessions to demonstrate how the opening to the hit track was produced. He also wrote “SORRY but we didn’t steal this” along with Bieber’s Twitter handle and the prayer hands emoji in the post. Bieber retweeted Skrillex’s tweet accompanied by the hashtags #wedontsteal and #sorry, along with a smiley face emoji.
Hinterland’s lawyer, meanwhile, will no doubt counter by pointing to a musicologist’s report, cited in the lawsuit, that says the pieces of music are the same.
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