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First off today, Michael Saponara at Billboard reports that The Weeknd, birth name Abel Tesfaye, is being sued by a group of three British songwriters that claim The Weeknd’s 2016 song A Lonely Night is an infringement of their 2004 work entitled I Need Love.
The lawsuit was filed by songwriters William Smith, Brian Clover and Scott McCulloch, who claim that they had informed the plaintiffs, which included both Universal Music and Warner Bros. Music Corp., about the potential issue back in 2016. However, according to the lawsuit, Universal responded denying that the work was being exploited and continued using A Lonely Night as is.
The lawsuit is seeking “unspecified damages” in the case. The publisher that was originally responsible for managing the rights to I Need Love was acquired by Universal Music Publishing Group in 2008.
Next up today, Hakim Bishara at Hyperallergic reports that Mercedes-Benz USA has filed a proactive lawsuit against four Detroit-based artists after the artists objected to the use of their murals in the backgrounds of several Instagram advertisements from the company.
Mercedes is seeking a judgment that the use of the murals is a fair use. In the lawsuit, they note that the murals are not the focus of the images, the automobiles are, and that the use was transformative. Mercedes has said it has removed the posts as a “courtesy.”
The director for Murals in the Market, the event for which the murals were painted, is siding with the artists saying that it is “particularly offensive” to have their work used in advertisements without compensation or permission. An attorney representing the four artists has said the lawsuit, if it goes in Mercedes favor “Could destroy the artists’ rights for thousands of important and beautiful public works.”
Finally today, Matthew Glowicki at the Louisville Courier Journal reports that the Kentucky Derby Festival has also filed a proactive lawsuit, this one against an artist that it says is trying to unfairly threaten them with litigation over pins that the event sells.
The lawsuit was filed against designer Andre Wilson. According to the lawsuit, Wilson has been demanding royalties for the pins. Wilson was allegedly paid $4,500 for the design to be used on the festival’s jackets. However, he became upset when he found out the design was being sold on pins, prompting him and his attorney to demand royalties.
According to Wilson, he learned when the public that his jacket design would be used in the pins. This prompted him to send the request for royalties on the pin sales, originally suggesting $1 per $6 pin. However, the festival claims that Wilson didn’t actually create the pattern in question, but rather, that he only helped with the sourcing, styling and manufacturing of the the jacket. The festival is asking for a judgment that their use is non-infringing.