In May 2013, two hit country songwriters and singers Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley were sued by one Lizza Connor (that is her professional name, her real name is Amy Bowen) over the song ‘remind me.’ The suit came as a shock, not just to Underwood and Paisley, but to their fans as well. Country artists are known to write the lyrics to their own songs. The fact that two of the biggest country artists (in the 21st century) were being accused of copyrighting another artist’s song raised some eyebrows.
This blogger previously wrote two articles on copyright infringement in the American music industry. Due to the fact that certain phrases and beats are very common they tend to appear in several songs. This is why fans may find certain songs sounding alike or similar in nature.
The judge who was hearing the case, Judge Trauger, gave Bowen the initial green light to take the case to trial on the basis of:
” (1) the phrase ‘Remind me’ is often followed by the partner phrase ‘Baby, remind me,’ which essentially echoes the hook; (2) the hooks are repeated in close proximity and with similar intonation — higher the second time than the first; (3) the hooks rise in pitch from ‘re-‘ to ‘-mind’ and descend in pitch from ‘re-‘ to ‘-mind,’; and (4) the syllable ‘re-‘ crosses two tones and the syllable ‘-me’ crosses at least three tones.’ ”
However unlike the claimants in the ‘blurred lines’ and Marvin Gaye suits, Bowen was not lucky. On Thursday the 26th of August 2016. The same judge who gave Bowen the green light gave her final ruling in favour of Paisley, Underwood and the other defendants involved.
Although the judge ruled in favour of the hit artists, Paisley did not fear poking fun at the copyright infringement allegations in his 2014 song, “High Life” which was about litigious freeloaders (such as Bowen).
The reason for her ruling was on the basis of coincidence; the repetition of the phrase “remind me” during Paisley and Underwood’s song as well as the melody shifts held “broader dissimilarities in context, with the fact that Bowen’s song was about heartbreak Paisley and Underwood’s was about reigniting a relationship’s spark.