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Rockstar song theft lawsuit filed against Nickelback dismissed

By | Published on Monday 20 March 2023


A US judge last week dismissed a song theft lawsuit filed against Nickelback, following the earlier recommendation of a magistrate judge who said that the plaintiff in the case had failed to sufficiently back up his theory for how the band had accessed the earlier song.

Kirk Johnston, vocalist with the band Snowblind Revival, went legal in 2020, claiming that Nickelback’s 2005 track ‘Rockstar’ ripped off a song he had written with the same title four years earlier.

The band then called for the lawsuit to be dismissed on the basis they’d never heard of the earlier song or Snowblind Revival before Johnston went legal.

However, magistrate judge Susan Hightower initially said she wasn’t convinced there were grounds for dismissal, though that was assuming Johnston could produce evidence that supported his claim that Nickelback might have had access to his song via their label.

But, alas, that evidence was not forthcoming. And as a result Hightower last month recommended the case be dismissed, stating that “Johnston has presented no probative evidence that defendants had a reasonable opportunity to hear plaintiff’s work”.

District judge Robert Pitman last week confirmed he was following Hightower’s recommendation. Johnston had filed written objections to the magistrate judge’s conclusion, he confirmed, but having reviewed that submission “the court overrules plaintiff’s objections and adopts the report and recommendation as its own order”.

And so, this particular song theft action has been dismissed.