Did Will.i.am ‘steal’ 2011 song for new Chris Brown collaboration?

| Apr 25, 2013 | Copyright Law

Isaac Asimov once said, “If I have seen further, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants.”

One interpretation of that comment is that complete and utter originality is not possible. We are all products of our environment, and we are all influenced by the things around us. Can it really be said that any idea is 100 percent entirely original?

We pose this question because we recently read an interesting article about Will.i.am, the music producer whom Sacramento readers know as a member of the hip-hop group The Black Eyed Peas.

Recently, Will.i.am was accused of stealing “Rebound,” a 2011 song by little-known artists Arty & Mat Zo, and using it for his recent collaboration with Chris Brown, “Let’s Go.”

In their social media accounts, both Arty and Mat Zo have said they did not give Will.i.am clearance to use their copyrighted song and have accused him of theft.

In an April 23 interview with a radio station, Will.i.am said he and Arty and Mat Zo had started collaborating on the song, but then it got released before the other two artists had signed off on it. Arty and Mat Zo have not commented on that assertion.

What we see in this story is an illustration of how tangled the process of generating a creative work can be, especially when people explore influences or investigate collaborative possibilities that do not work out.

In many situations, it can be helpful to have an intellectual property attorney advise you at all steps of the process. That often helps prevent future problems and ensures that all steps of the process go as smoothly as possible.

Source: Us Weekly, “Will.i.am Admits Copyright Infringement of Arty & Mat Zo’s “Rebound” With Chris Brown “Let’s Go” Song” Nicole Eggenberger, April 23, 2013

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