Miley Cyrus’s “We Can’t Stop” Targeted in Copyright Infringement Suit by Jamaican Dancehall Artist
The Jamaican dancehall artist Flourgon, otherwise known as Michael May, has sued Miley Cyrus, producers Mike Will Made-It and Rock City, Cyrus’s manager, Sony Records, and RCA Music for copyright infringement. In a suit filed in the Southern District court of New York yesterday, May claims that Cyrus’s 2013 Bangerz hit “We Can’t Stop” owes “approximately Fifty Percent (50%) of the substantive content,” as well as its “chart-topping popularity to and…highly-lucrative success,” to his 1988 Jamacian hit “We Run Things.”
May’s specific complaints include an assertion that “We Can’t Stop” has a “substantially similar hook” to “We Run Things.” As the title of the song might suggest, May also objects to Cyrus’ use of the phrase “We run things, things don’t run we,” which he claims is an interpolation of his song’s central patois-derived line, “We run things. Things no run we.” He says that Cyrus’ song imitates “We Run Things”‘ “overarching message of defiance,” as well as “substantially incorporat[es]” aspects of May’s vocal style and rhythms.
May is seeking a potential $300 million in damages, according to a statement from his legal team provided to Reuters. May also is aiming to halt performance and distribution of “We Can’t Stop,” and seeking a trial by jury for the case. The singer’s suit comes a few months after he won “formal copyright protection” for “We Run Things” from the U.S. Copyright Office. Check out the full suit below, via Pitchfork: