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Justin Bieber, Usher Accused of Stealing 'Somebody to Love'

Pop stars face a $10 million copyright infringement lawsuit

May 7, 2013 10:55 AM ET
Justin Bieber and Usher in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Justin Bieber and Usher
Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Justin Bieber and Usher have been named in a $10 million copyright infringment claim over Bieber's 2010 track "Somebody to Love," Reuters reports. R&B singer Devin Copeland and songwriter Mareio Overton filed a lawsuit last week in U.S. District Court in Virginia accusing Usher of giving Bieber the song they claim to have written.

Exclusive: 'Glee' Covers Justin Bieber's 'Somebody to Love'

According to Copeland (who performs under the name De Rico) and Overton, "Somebody to Love" has the same title, time signature and beat as their original, and shares a similar chord progression and lyrics. Bieber's version, however, is credited to him, songwriter Heather Bright and production team the Stereotypes. Usher reportedly first recorded the song as a demo for his 2010 LP Raymond v. Raymond and ended up recording a remix version with Bieber.

"There is essentially a zero probability for the number of points of congruence between the two versions of 'Somebody to Love,'" the two said in the lawsuit.

Copeland and Overton claim that music scouts showed "Somebody to Love" to Usher in 2009, and that his mother and sometimes manager, Jonetta Patton, then asked Copeland to re-record the song and join Usher on tour. Copeland, however, says he never heard back from the R&B star.

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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