The Weeknd's "The Hills" from his recently released album Beauty Behind the Madness was without a doubt one of the hottest singles of 2015, going 5x platinum in the United States alone. Chicago has been paying particular attention to the record because of the production credit held by former Kanye West tour DJ and Treated Crew member Mano aka Million Dollar Mano.
Today, the celebration comes to a screeching halt as The Weeknd, Mano, Universal Music Group and everyone under the sun who had any involvement in the creation and distribution of the record was sued by Cutting Edge Music Limited. The plaintiff claims that Mano used a portion of the song "Revolution" written by Tom Raybould for the soundtrack of 2013's The Machine. The complaint (which can be found via Scribd.) states that the portion used begins around the 2:26 mark of "Revolution".
In copyright infringement cases, an infringement occurs when a third party violates 1 of 6 exclusive rights held by the creator of an original expression fixed in a tangible medium of expression: (1) to produce copies or reproductions of the work and to sell those copies (including, typically, electronic copies) (2) to import or export the work (3) to create derivative works (works that adapt the original work) (4) to perform or display the work publicly (5) to sell or cede these rights to others (6) to transmit or display by radio or video. Once one of these exclusive rights has allegedly been violated, a court will often look at the defendant's access to the original work and the two works' similarities.
In the case at hand, the complaint alleges that the defendants sampled the record (using the actual master recording of "Revolution" as apposed to creating something new that used the same musical composition) and that the producer Mano actually sent a message to Tom Raybould on Twitter admitting to sampling his music prior to the records inclusion on The Weeknd's album. Mano allegedly wrote "I sampled your music might make it 2 the weeknd next album. Huge fan of what u did 4 the machine movie!"
While all this is very one sided at the moment the initial facts presented in the complaint are not favorable to the defense. The plaintiffs in the suit are seeking an injunction and damages in the millions of dollars. We'll be sure to update you when more details are available.
*Please note that no comments contained in this post are intended to be legal advice. Should you have questions regarding copyrights or any other legal matter, consult an attorney.