The Weeknd Sued Over “The Hills” Sample

Carl Williott | December 10, 2015 9:40 am

Yesterday (December 9), Adele‘s “Million Years Ago” came under fire by fans who claim the song rips off a Kurdish ballad. Now another one of the year’s biggest hits is facing claims of copying. According to The Hollywood Reporter, a film financier has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit alleging The Weeknd‘s “The Hills” contains an uncleared sample from the score to obscure 2013 sci-fi film The Machine. As evidence, court papers cite a direct message allegedly sent from one of the song’s co-producers to the score’s composer reading “I sampled your music might make it 2 the weeknd next album. Huge fan of what u did 4 the machine movie!”

This isn’t the first time one of The Weeknd’s songs came under fire for an apparently unauthorized sample. Back in 2013, Portishead‘s Geoff Barrow took to Twitter to call out Kiss Land track “Belong To The World” for stealing the percussion blasts from “Machine Gun.” Similarly, in that case, Barrow produced what appeared to be a letter from The Weeknd’s team requesting permission to sample the drums, which Barrow ultimately rejected.

The Weeknd denied using the sample in that case, so it’s possible his team recreated the sounds (similar to what may have happened with Demi Lovato and Sleigh Bells). No word yet from his team regarding “The Hills” claims.