Marshmello is facing a lawsuit from a fellow EDM producer, Russian DJ Arty, over alleged similarities between their respective songs. In a complaint filed Monday in California federal court, Arty (Artem Stoliarov) accuses the writers of “Happier,” Marshmello’s hit collaboration with Bastille, of “willfully copying” his remix of OneRepublic’s “I Lived.”
The complaint is unique given its focus on a remix. Arty specifically targets the songwriters — Marshmello (Christopher Comstock), Bastille frontman Daniel Campbell Smith and producer Steve Mac — for allegedly borrowing the “original composition elements” of the revamped track “note for note,” including a repeating synthesizer pattern. Several music publishing companies are also named as defendants in the suit.
Nashville copyright attorney Richard Busch, who previously represented the Marvin Gaye estate in its suit against Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams’ “Blurred Lines,” is representing Arty. The DJ is seeking “actual damages in addition to Defendants’ profits both domestically and relating to foreign sales of other exploitation of ‘Happier’ that were manufactured, distributed or otherwise infringed domestically,” along with a “running royalty on all future exploitations of ‘Happier’ following judgement in an amount to be determined.”
“Everything we have to say at this time is set forth in detail in the Complaint,” Busch tells Rolling Stone. “This includes of course the facts setting forth, among other things, access, and a thorough and compelling musical transcription comparison that shows, as we said in the Complaint, note for note copying of Arty’s work.”
A rep for Marshmello did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Marshmello and Bastille released “Happier” in August 2018. The song eventually went double-platinum, peaking at Number Two on the UK Singles Chart and Billboard Hot 100 — a career best for both. OneRepublic issued the original version of “I Lived” on their third LP, 2013’s Native, with Arty’s remix out the following year.