After getting sued by Hinterland for copyright infringement, Skrillex defended himself on Twitter.
— SKRILLEX (@Skrillex) May 27, 2016
Sure, Skrillex was able to prove that he didn’t sample Hinterland’s song in the hit track “Sorry,” which would have required him to have actually used a recording of her track. But could he still be under fire for inadvertently recreating her sound?
In the video he posted on Twitter, he shows that he clearly was able to manipulate some of the vocals he created with Julia Michaels, whose voice is featured in “Sorry,” to create the identifiable hook. However, even if he came up with the hook on his own, legal consequences can arise for even sounding similar to a different artist’s work.
Check out the videos here and hear the similarities for yourself:
Just last year, Tom Petty settled a disagreement with Sam Smith, whose chorus on “Stay With Me” was too similar to Petty’s song “I Won’t Back Down.” In that situation, Smith inadvertently came too close to Petty’s song. Petty stated that in the music world, mistakes can be made.
“About the Sam Smith thing. Let me say I have never had any hard feelings toward Sam,” Petty said. “All my years of songwriting have shown me these things can happen. Most times you catch it before it gets out the studio door but in this case it got by.”
Smith ended up giving Petty a writing credit on the song, and the two remained amicable about the agreement.
So how obvious were the similarities? Check out Petty’s song, “I Won’t Back Down”:
And compare to Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me”:
The similarities are there, but it takes a bit of a stretch to hear them.
In another recent situation, Marvin Gaye‘s estate sued Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams for copying Gaye’s hit “Got to Give it Up.” Pharrell, who wrote the song “Blurred Lines” that was the subject of the suit, admitted to being inspired by Gaye’s music, but denied copying anything of his.
However, Pharrell and Thicke’s argument was unsuccessful, and the court entered a $7.4 million judgment in favor of Gaye.
This illustrates that even if Skrillex and Bieber had no negative intentions in mind, they could still have to make some sort of recompense to Hinterland. Ultimately, a court may have to decide.
Read more to see what Hinterland had to say about the alleged theft: