Alicia Keys Faces Copyright Lawsuit

Under Fire Over Copyright Lawsuit

Alicia Keys is known for her soulful vocals and inspiring lyrics, but her latest hit “Girl on Fire” is now the subject of a copyright lawsuit.

The 31-year-old R&B singer is facing a copyright infringement lawsuit from songwriter Earl Shuman, who argues that Keys unlawfully used lyrics from a 1969 song he Alicia Keys Faces Copyright Lawsuitwrote, entitled “Hey There Lonely Girl.” The song was recorded by Eddie Holman. The copyright infringement lawsuit only relates to two seconds of the song during the bridge, in which Keys sings “She’s a lonely girl/And it’s a lonely world.

Blogger Roger Friedman initially noticed the similarities and blogged about how in the middle of the song, “Alicia sings a couplet or so from Eddie Holman’s 1970 classic ‘Hey There Lonely Girl.’ The song was written by Leon Carr and Earl Shuman, who are both gone to rock and rock and roll heaven.”

Shulman, who co-wrote the song, responded to the blogger, and used his article in his lawsuit against Keys.

“Hi Roger, I am the co-writer of ‘Hey There Lonely Girl’ and I appreciate your recognizing an important part of ‘Lonely Girl’ in Alicia Keys’ new recording. Thanks for your expertise.”

The singer has not yet responded to the lawsuit. It’s unclear whether Shulman’s lawsuit has significant merit, as the phrase “lonely girl” is not a recurring lyric throughout the song. In addition, the remaining lyrics of the song are completely different from the 1960’s song, meaning that she may have a stronger case against the songwriter. However, the intricacies of copyright law can be complex and difficult to analyze without legal expertise, making it important for artists to retain representation when releasing music.

For more information about this case or questions about copyright law, please contact Anthony Caruso, Chair of Scarinci Hollenbeck’s Sports and Entertainment Law Group.

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Anthony R. Caruso is a business transactional attorney in New York and New Jersey with experience in structuring, negotiation and completion of legal deals involving business, entrepreneurs, athletes and performers.

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