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The High Court (Zacaroli J) has handed down its decision in a copyright infringement dispute concerning the song ‘Waiting All Night’ by English drum and bass band, Rudimental. The Court rejected allegations that the song had been copied from an earlier work, dismissing the Claimant’s claims in their entirety.

The Claimant claimed to be the composer of a song called ‘Can You Tell Me’: a pop ballad, which she alleged she wrote in 2006. The song was never commercially released, and its authorship was itself disputed by the Ninth Defendant to the proceedings.

Both the Claimant and the Ninth Defendant alleged that the chorus of ‘Waiting All Night’ – the number one hit, which was released in 2013, from Rudimental’s debut album ‘Home’ – were copied from her own song. ‘Waiting All Night’ was originally written by a number of writers including James Newman – the UK’s most recent entrant to the Eurovision Song Contest – and various members of Rudimental itself. 

Zacaroli J dismissed the claims. In broad summary, the Judge held that:

  • While there were some limited similarities between the choruses of both songs, there were also important differences. Those differences were not insignificant, in the context of a “simple melody which spans only three different tones”, and it was plausible that a person trying to write a hit song would come up with the same or similar lyrics.
  • There was no evidence that Mr Newman – the original writer of the disputed phrase – had access to the Claimant’s song, which had never been commercially released. The Claimant’s case on access through the video sharing platform, ‘Vimeo’, in particular, was said to be “extremely weak” and to involve “too many tenuous links”. 
  • Importantly, the Defendants had a contemporaneous audio recording of Mr Newman’s original creation. The so-called ‘Voice Memo’ was said to provide “strong support for the conclusion that Mr Newman came up spontaneously and independently with the allegedly offending lyrics and melody in the course of trying out various ideas”.

The decision is available here

Tom Weisselberg QC and Celia Rooney represented the successful defendants.

Clerks

Staff