Lana Del Rey says the lawsuit between herself and Radiohead over similarities between her song “Get Free” and their 1993 hit “Creep” — a lawsuit that the band’s publisher has denied exists — is “over.” The singer made the announcement during her performance at the Lollapalooza festival in Brazil on Sunday night, as first reported by the BBC.
“Well, f—! I mean, now that my lawsuit’s over, I guess I can sing that song anytime I want, right?” she told the crowd while puffing on a cigarette. Reps for Del Rey and Radiohead either declined or did not immediately respond to Variety’s request for comment.
In a strange exchange early in January, Del Rey revealed the dispute in a tweet, saying that Radiohead demanded 100% of the publishing revenues from the song. She said that while her song “wasn’t inspired by Creep,” she has offered up to 40% of the publishing to settle the matter. While Radiohead has not commented directly, Variety received a statement from the band’s publisher, Warner/Chappell Music.
“As Radiohead’s music publisher, it’s true that we’ve been in discussions since August of last year with Lana Del Rey’s representatives,” the statement reads. “It’s clear that the verses of ‘Get Free’ use musical elements found in the verses of ‘Creep’ and we’ve requested that this be acknowledged in favor of all writers of Creep.’
“To set the record straight,” the statement continues, “no lawsuit has been issued and Radiohead have not said they ‘will only accept 100 %’ of the publishing of ‘Get Free’.”
Del Rey’s comment suggests that a settlement has been reached, which is typically the case in such disputes. Prior to litigation, both sides may also engage their own musicologists to study the similarities between the two compositions. Two songs may sound similar to the untrained ear, but a musicologist may be able to show that the similarities are trivial or commonplace.
Going before a jury is a risky gamble, as proven by the outcome of the “Blurred Lines” case, in which the writers of that song, Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams, were sued by Marvin Gaye’s estate and found liable in March 2015 for copyright infringement for similarities with Gaye’s 1977 song “Got to Give It Up.” In July of that year the jury’s award was reduced from $7.3 million to $5.3 million, although Thicke and Williams’ request for a new trial was denied; that judgment was largely confirmed last week.
Radiohead were themselves sued by songwriters Albert Hammond and Mike Hazlewood over similarities between “Creep” and their composition “The Air That I Breathe,” which was a hit for the Hollies in 1974. Ultimately the case was settled and pair were given co-writing credits on the song.