Skrillex and Justin Bieber have been named as defendants in a new lawsuit claiming that their hit single “Sorry” off Bieber’s 2015 LP Purpose features a plagiarized sample. The lawsuit is being levelled against the popular musicians by indie vocalist White Hinterland, who alleges that “Sorry” features an unauthorized vocal sample from her 2014 song “Ring The Bell.”
Taking precedence from the lawsuit that surrounded Pharrel Williams and Robin Thicke’s 2014 smash hit “Blurred Lines,” Hinterland claims that the opening vocal loop in “Sorry” ripped off her own sample from “Ring The Bell,” while stating that attempts at contacting Bieber to resolve the issue were ignored.
While Skrillex and Bieber have received a lot of criticism for their work together, a brief listen through the two songs makes it clear that this lawsuit has little legal credence from a musicology standpoint. While the melodies featured in each sample are certainly similar, “Sorry” and “Ring The Bell” feature little else in common, and Hinterland seems to mistakenly believe that any passing similarity between two musical works represents an act of plagiarism.
Hinterland’s lawsuit is a shameless exercise in litigation that seeks to further degrade the ability of musicians to profit from their work, while contributing to an industry trend where anyone can be sued for any reason. To be honest, the whole story feels like a forced marketing move to bring more attention to Hinterland’s career in an attempt to capitalize on the popularity of Skrillex and Bieber’s hit single.