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Copyright Case Against Justin Timberlake & Will.i.am Moves Forward

The copyright case against Justin Timberlake and Will.i.am will continue as their bid to dismiss the case was rejected by a New York federal judge.  In 2016, the heirs of Perry Kibble sued Timberlake and Will.i.am, accusing them of copying Kibble’s 1969 song “A New Day Is Here at Last” with the 2006 song “Damn Girl.”  The case illustrates an interesting nuance in copyright law as the lawsuit was filed eight years after the song was released due to Kibble’s late discovery of the similarities in the two songs, seemingly a long time after the song was made public.  However, the judge applied the Copyright Act’s statute of limitations, which starts ticking when a plaintiff “discovers” infringement.  This allowed Kibble to continue with the suit.

The case now moves forward with discovery and possibly a trial.  Kibble claims a substantial amount of the music in “Damn Girl” is copied from “A New Day Is Here At Last,” including the intro, rhythm, harmony, melody and hook, specifically calling out the drum, conga drum, organ, guitar, bass, and sax.  What do you think?

As an interesting aside, Kibble was a member of the disco group A Taste of Honey, which is most known for the song “Boogie Oogie Oogie” which was a number one hit in 1978.

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