Guns n' Roses manager Irving Azoff has formally responded to claims the band illegally borrowed music from two songs by German electro artist Ulrich Schnauss on Chinese Democracy's "Riad N' the Bedouins." As Rolling Stone reported yesterday, the Independiente and Domino labels announced they were suing the band for $1 million in damages, alleging the ambient noise at the top of the Gn'R track was created by Ulrich and used without permission. Today, Azoff said the band "vigorously contests these claims and intends to respond accordingly." He added the band and production team's legal reps will be responding soon, as well. His full statement follows:
"The band believed when the record came out and still believes that there are no unauthorized samples on the track. The snippets of 'ambient noise' in question were provided by a member of the album's production team who has assured us that these few seconds of sound were obtained legitimately. Artists these days can't read the minds of those they collaborate with and therefore are unfortunately vulnerable to claims like this one. While the band resents the implication that they would ever use another artist's work improperly and are assessing possible counterclaims, they are confident this situation will be satisfactorily resolved."
Brian Caplan of Caplan and Ross, an attorney representing Schnauss' team disagrees, telling Rolling Stone, "The band and the record company are ultimately responsible for copyright infringement." He added, "I can tell you that there is no paper trail authorizing the use of these songs and nobody from the plaintiff's side authorized the use of this song."
The most recent high-profile accusation of musical plagiarism â€" the case of Joe Satriani vs. Coldplay over their hit "Viva la Vida" à«¼ recently ended with a dismissal and, presumably, an out-of-court settlement.