Justin Bieber and Dan + Shay have been hit with a copyright lawsuit that claims they borrowed the “core portion” of their Grammy-winning hit “10,000 Hours” from a comparatively obscure 1980 song called “The First Time Baby Is A Holiday.” The complaint was filed Thursday in Los Angeles federal court by a company called Melomega.
“Defendants’ theft is impudently bold,” reads the complaint reads, which also names Dan + Shay’s label, Warner Music Group, as a defendant. “One need only listen to ‘First Time’ and the infringing ‘10,000 Hours’ to discern the unmistakable similarities between the songs.” The claim is supported by musicologist Dr. Alexander Stewart, who arrived at the “ineluctable conclusion that defendants stole plaintiff’s song.”
“’10,000 Hours’ is not just substantially similar to ‘First Time’; defendants copied, in minute detail, the most important, core portion of plaintiff’s song, which includes the chorus, verse and hook,” the complaint reads in part. “The similarities are so striking that ‘10,000 Hours’ simply cannot have been independently created.”
Although “The First Time Baby Is A Holiday” was copyrighted in 1980, the complaint states that the song was released in 2014 by the Orchard, which is owned by Sony Music.
The complaint also attempts to differentiate the complaint from high-profile but ultimately unsuccessful infringement allegations involving Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” and Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven,” claiming that other lawsuits have been based on “as few as 6 to 7 consecutive notes” stating that “several 47-note sections of ‘10,000 Hours’ are virtually identical to parallel sections of ‘First Time’.”
Variety will have more on the situation as it develops.