Carrie Underwood, Brad Paisley, Sued for Copyright Infringement (UPDATED)

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A Dallas songwriter is suing Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood, Nashville songwriters Chris DuBois and Kelley Lovelace, their record label, and publishing companies for copyright infringement, claiming they ripped off her song “Remind Me.” “Remind Me” is cowritten by Brad, Chris DuBois, and Kelley Lovelace, and was the 3rd single off Brad’s This Is Country Music album. “Remind Me” hit #1 on both the Billboard and Mediabase country airplay charts in late summer 2011, and has sold over 1.782 million downloads.

The songwriter claims it was stolen after it was heard performed around Nashville and at a songwriters workshop.

In a suit filed this week in U.S. District Court of Tennessee, Amy Bowen, who performs as Lizza Connor, says the song “Remind Me,” released by Paisley and Underwood in 2011, was copied from a song of the same name that Bowen wrote in 2007 and registered with the U.S. Copyright Office in December 2008.

“The two songs are substantially similar,” according to the suit, which is seeking at least $10 million in damages and requests that Bowen be declared the song’s owner.

Bowen performed “Remind Me” around Nashville for several years, according to the suit, and briefly attempted to pitch it to labels, publishers and artists in 2009 under a single song publishing deal that lasted 10 months. It was suggested that the song be recorded as a duet.

The parties “knowingly and willfully copied and prepared unauthorized and infringing derivative works” of her song, according to the suit.

Via Tennessean.com

Pierre Greenberg of the Nashville City Paper provides lyrics to the choruses of the two songs. See any of the substantial similarities claimed?

The plaintiff’s “Remind Me”:

All it takes is your kiss to remind me
All I need is your touch to remind me
Yesterday’s gone
Take me to the place we started from
When love was young
Baby, remind me

Brad & Carrie’s “Remind Me”

Been so long, bet you forget
The way I used to kiss your neck
Remind me, remind me
So on fire, so in love
Way back when we couldn’t get enough
Remind me, remind me.

EDIT: You can hear the story from Brad & Carrie about how “Remind Me” came together, from a mumbled hum over the phone from Brad to Carrie to rewritten verses to how it was fate for Carrie to detour to Nashville from LA instead of going back to Ottawa, here via Lon Helton of Country Countdown USA.

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  • http://twitter.com/YakkityYaks YakkityYaks

    I read this yesterday and was trying to find the song to see just how “substantially similar” they are. Anyone have any luck?

  • LJ

    Carrie isn’t listed as a songwriter on “Remind Me”. She was merely a featured artist on the song, so I don’t believe she should be held responsible for Brad’s actions, should this be true.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matteo-Rodrigo/1340430528 Matteo Rodrigo

    This is why entertainment companies dont take submissions from regular people, and those of us with great ideas for tv shows, movies etc can never get our foot in the door

  • windmills

    I just updated the post with lyrics from each song’s chorus via the Nashville City Paper. I guess the idea of the songs were similar but the lyrics really weren’t. There are also a bunch of articles about how Brad & Carrie’s Remind Me came to be – it wasn’t even written when Brad sang a hook to Carrie over the phone, and the songwriters were in studio with them preparing alternate lyrics in case Carrie didn’t like something. I’ll dig up the articles and update the post again.

  • http://twitter.com/YakkityYaks YakkityYaks

    Thanks, Windmills. Ya. I saw those lyrics as well when I did some digging. The “Remind Me” concept is generic and a lot of lyrics can be written from that idea. I agree – not a solid lawsuit.

  • girlygirl

    the choruses are similar in theme, even if the lyrics are different. But that happens with songs all the time — there’s only so many subjects people write about in songs.

    Any idea if the two songs are similar musically/melodically?

    PS – Usher & Bieber just got sued for copyright infringement as well.

  • windmills

    OK, I did one more update to the post, with audio from Brad & Carrie about how ‘Remind Me’ came together. Brad basically had a hook and that’s all when he pitched it to Carrie, and the verses were written and rewritten several times, with Brad’s verses changing even after Carrie recorded her part.

  • windmills

    Haven’t been able to find any audio for the plaintiff’s Remind Me, but in the audio I posted above, Brad talks about how the hook of the song was almost the only thing he had when he pitched the duet to Carrie. The lawsuit claims Lovelace and DuBois were the ones who attended some workshop where the plaintiff performed, not Brad.

    I’m all for proper credit and songwriters getting their due but I can’t help but feel this is a situation where a person is cheapening the concept of plagiarism in an attempt for publicity and/or a settlement.

  • heartly

    This seems to be reaching a tad bit here. It’s possible that through some channel that Brad may have heard the “not hit” Remind Me and parts of it stuck in some deep part of his brain and he inadvertently pulled from it while writing the “hit” Remind Me. For there to be a lawsuit, wouldn’t it have to be a blatant copy of parts of the “not hit” version? On the other side, I think Brad’s a smart enough guy to not name his song the same as a song he’s supposedly copying. ;)

    If the suit is because the themes are similar, I fully expect a lawsuit to come about in a little while with Kelly’s You Can’t Win and Kacey Musgraves’ Follow Your Arrow. Just kidding, I don’t expect that to happen. There’s only so many things to write about and there will be songs that are similar in themes. This is just silly.

  • http://twitter.com/Stooch101 Stooch

    To me lyrics don’t matter in these suits, many great stories can be told with words. It’s the melody, arrangement and what the instrumental parts of the song sound like that matter. You can have the greatest lyrics in the world but if the musical aspect doesn’t match the song goes nowhere :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Li-Wright/100001622678180 Li Wright

    And Will.i.am. just confessed that he ripped of a songwriter and has agreed to pay….it’s at TMZ somewhere.

  • http://www.facebook.com/beaugard.stevens Beaugard Stevens

    Unless the music is the same, I don’t see a case here- both lyrics are pretty derivative of about a hundred other songs that came before it- the whole “remind me” motif isn’t a very original one. Both are inspired by sources that have been in songs for decades.. Even Celine’s “It’s all coming back to me” is a similar concept.

  • http://twitter.com/HighTensions Jake W.

    The lyrics are so different from each other. I don’t see a case unless the music sounds the same.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bug-Menot/100003601718986 Bug Menot

    A house producer accused him of stealing a beat.

    “Will just called in to KIIS FM, admitting he used the Arty beat saying, ‘I’m a fan of Arty. I think he’s great and the world needs to know about how talented those guys are. It’s sad that it’s turned into a fiasco but hopefully it’s resolved because I’m a fan of those guys to the point where I wrote to their instrumental.’

    Will said he thought the licensing issues had been taken care of … but apparently they hadn’t.
    He added, ‘We’re fixing it now.’”