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Sam Smith and Normani again call for dismissal of Dancing With A Stranger song-theft lawsuit

By | Published on Thursday 8 September 2022

Sam Smith

Legal reps for Sam Smith and Normani have again called for a song theft lawsuit in relation to their song ‘Dancing With A Stranger’ to be dismissed. An amended version of that lawsuit, they argue, doesn’t address the issues they previously raised about the song-theft claim.

Smith and Normani – and various other parties linked to their hit – were sued earlier this year by artist Jordan Vincent and producer Christopher Miranda who claim that ‘Dancing With A Stranger’ rips off their 2015 song ‘Dancing With Strangers’.

On top of having nearly the same title and a very similar accompanying promo video to the earlier song, Smith and Normani’s ‘Dancing With A Stranger’ – it was alleged – has the same “hook, chorus, lyrics, and musical composition” as ‘Dancing With Strangers’.

“It is beyond any real doubt that Smith, Normani and the other defendants copied plaintiff’s work”, the lawsuit then claimed. “The protected expression in both the infringing song and plaintiff’s pre-existing work is nearly identical and is strikingly similar”.

The Smith and Normani side were pretty scathing about the litigation when filing a motion to dismiss in July. The lawsuit was “rambling” and “repetitive”, they said, plus the plaintiff’s own expert report demonstrated why no copyright infringement had occurred.

“Even as transcribed by plaintiff’s expert, only the first and sixth notes are the same”, the motion to dismiss stated. “Given that an uninterrupted sequence of four notes is not protected by copyright, two non-contiguous notes cannot be protected”.

Vincent and Miranda filed an amended lawsuit in August, which the Smith/Normani side have now responded to. According to Rolling Stone, they argue that Vincent and Miranda’s amended legal filing does not properly address the issues they raised in the July motion to dismiss.

And the revised lawsuit is also “self-contradictory” and “nonsensical”. Among other things, the Smith/Normani team take issue with the fact defendants are accused of both direct infringement and contributory infringement. But you can only be liable for one of those – either you directly infringe someone else’s work, or you facilitate another party who directly infringes.

Not only that, but “plaintiff’s first amended complaint continues, rather than cures, plaintiff’s failure to provide each defendant with fair notice of whose infringement he, she, or it supposedly knew about and how he, she, or it materially contributed to or induced it”.

We now await to see if the judge allows this latest song theft dispute to proceed.