Justin Bieber & Skrillex Sued By White Hinterland Over “Sorry” Melody [UPDATED]
UPDATE (5/27/16): Both Skrillex and Bieber have responded on Twitter. First Skrillex posted a video showing him playing “Sorry” co-writer Julia Michaels’ original reference track for the song, and rebuilding the relevant section. A couple hours later, Bieber quoted that tweet, adding “#wedontsteal.”
— Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) May 28, 2016
Earlier in the afternoon, Diplo — who worked with Bieber and Skrillex on “What Do U Mean” — weighed in after being asked by one of TMZ’s LAX hounds. The producer surmises that one of the “Sorry” writers or producers must’ve thrown the sample into the songwriting mix, and that once it was in the track Bieber’s legal team dropped the ball when it came to clearing it.
Justin Bieber and Skrillex are being sued for allegedly copying elements of their hit “Sorry.” Indie pop artist Casey Dienel, who releases music as White Hinterland, has brought a lawsuit against the singer, his producer and the song’s co-writers (Justin Tranter and Julia Michaels) claiming that they lifted the vocal melody from her 2014 song “Ring The Bell.”
According to TMZ, Dienel claims the “unique characteristics of the female vocal riff” of her song are heard in the opening eight seconds of the Purpose single and then repeated six times throughout. She also says she tried to contact Bieber’s camp in December regarding the issue but never heard back.
“Bieber could have licensed my song for use in ‘Sorry.’ But he chose not to contact me,” Dienel wrote in a lengthy Facebook post. “After the release of ‘Sorry,’ my lawyers sent Bieber a letter regarding the infringement, but Bieber’s team again chose to ignore me. I offered Bieber’s team an opportunity to have a private dialogue about the infringement, but they refused to even acknowledge my claim, despite the obviousness of the sample.”
Once you hear the two songs side-by-side, there’s no denying the similarities of the vocal bit in question, whether it’s a sample or interpolation, especially considering it opens both songs. So the only question appears to be whether this was coincidental, malicious or some sort of miscommunication.