Artist News Business News Labels & Publishers Legal Top Stories

Lizzo settles Truth Hurts copyright battle with former collaborators

By | Published on Monday 21 March 2022


Lizzo has settled her legal battle with former collaborators Justin Raisen, Jeremiah Raisen and Justin ‘Yves’ Rothman over their claim that they contributed to the creation of her hit ‘Truth Hurts’ and should therefore share in the royalties generated by that track. Legal reps for both sides in the dispute informed the court that an agreement had been reached last week.

The Raisens and Rothman all collaborated with Lizzo, real name Melissa Jefferson, back in April 2017 and – out of that collaboration – came an unreleased song called ‘Healthy’. Although never put out, that song contained the notable line “I did a DNA test, turns out I’m 100% that bitch”, which also appeared in ‘Truth Hurts’ when it was released later that same year.

‘Truth Hurts’ didn’t become a hit until 2019, which is when the dispute between Jefferson and her former collaborators took off. The Raisens initially claimed that they had basically co-written ‘Truth Hurts’ – because it lifted the key lyric from ‘Healthy – via social media.

That prompted Jefferson to go legal seeking court confirmation that the Raisens and Rothman had no copyright claim over her late-in-the-day hit. And that in turn prompted the Raisens and Rothman to sue seeking a cut of the ‘Truth Hurts’ copyright.

As the legal battle went through the motions there was some discussion as to whether ‘Truth Hurts’ was a derivation of ‘Healthy’ – or whether, in fact, the ‘Healthy’ songwriting sessions were ultimately part of the ‘Truth Hurts’ songwriting sessions. That technicality had an impact on what specific copyright claims the Raisens and Rothman were making.

Although there was also a dispute over whether the three men had had any involvement in the decision to turn the “I’m 100% that bitch” line – which was an Instagram meme – into a lyric within ‘Healthy’. Jefferson’s argument being that – whatever the connection between ‘Healthy’ and ‘Truth Hurts’ – her former collaborators had no involvement in the lyrics they were fighting over.

In court things mainly went in Jefferson’s favour. In August 2020, the judge overseeing the case dismissed a key claim made in the first lawsuit filed by the Raisens and Rothman, although allowed them to submit an amended complaint. Much of the amended complaint was then also dismissed in April 2021.

However, that didn’t kill the litigation entirely, so the whole dispute was still quietly going through the motions. Until last week. On Friday, the judge confirmed that legal reps for the two sides had requested “dismissal of the entire action without prejudice”. Terms of the settlement are not known, although each side will cover their own legal costs.