The Irish band say the former X Factor winner’s 2016 single Say You Won’t Let Go is too similar to their The Man Who Can’t Be Moved
Irish band the Script are suing James Arthur for copyright infringement. The group claim that the X Factor winner’s 2016 comeback single Say You Won’t Let Go rips off their 2008 single The Man Who Can’t Be Moved. Arthur denies all of the claims.
The Script are being represented by Richard Busch, the lawyer who represented Marvin Gaye’s estate in its successful lawsuit against Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams over the song Blurred Lines.
Busch argues that Arthur has generated $20m from the song, which revived his career following criticism over writing derogatory lyrics about Rita Ora and the LGBTQ community in 2013. iTunes subsequently offered refunds on his album, and he was dropped by Simon Cowell’s label Syco. He has since gone back to the label.
According to the lawsuit, Arthur approached members of the Script in 2014 to propose a collaboration, which they turned down. Busch alleges that Arthur then copied “the essence” of The Man Who Can’t Be Moved.
Billboard reports that fans have previously remarked on the similarity between the songs: they share the same 4/4 meter, have a similar tempo, four-bar guitar introduction and employ similar vocal melodies and harmonic structures. The Script reportedly hired a musicologist to commission a report on the two songs in 2016.
Busch has requested a jury trial to rule that Arthur infringed on the song and has called for an accounting of all streaming, distribution, publishing and touring revenue connected to the song. The group seek statutory damages.
Speaking of the supposed similarities in the two songs last year, Arthur said that there was “no case” to answer. “It’s 2017, there’s only seven notes in music,” he said. “Every blues song sounds the fucking same. People get wound up about these things for no reason.”