Demi Lovato sued for copyright infringement, her people deny sampling

Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas during an appearance on CBS's 'The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.'
Yet another pop artist has been sued for copyright infringement. Given the success of the lawsuit by Marvin Gaye’s estate vs. Robin Thicke and Pharrell for “Blurred Lines,” I suspect we’ll be seeing more of these type of lawsuits, not that they’re all without merit. Sometimes as a layperson I have a hard time hearing the similarities between songs. In this case, the beats, rhythm and music in the two songs sounds glaringly similar to me, as the lawsuit alleges. (You can compare the songs below.) Demi Lovato is being sued by a group named Sleigh Bells for similarities between her song “Stars,” a bonus track from her Confident album, out last fall, and their song “Infinity Guitars,” released in 2010. The alleged infringement first came to light in November, when Sleigh Bells tweeted a message to Demi thanking her for sampling their songs (apparently there are similarities to another song of theirs) but stating that the samples had not been cleared. The producers of Demi’s album denied sampling Sleigh Bells’s work and I would assume they were unable to reach any kind of agreement, because now a lawsuit has been filed.

Demi Lovato was named in a complaint filed Monday in a California federal court by the indie group Sleigh Bells, which includes musicians Alexis Krauss and Derek Miller.

The complaint alleges that Lovato and her team (UMG Recordings and producers Carl Falk and Rami Yacoub) used material from the Sleigh Bells’ song “Infinity Guitars” for Lovato’s song “Stars.” The Huffington Post has reached out to reps for Lovato and Sleigh Bells and will update this post accordingly.

“The sonic qualities of portions of ‘Infinity Guitars’ and ‘Stars’ are at least substantially similar,” the complaint reads. “The signal decay and other sonic signatures in each of the songs are comprised of and contain virtually identical content, and analyses of the two songs reveal that they are, at least in part, substantially similar, virtually identical, or identical.”

After Lovato released “Stars” on her album, “Confident,” Sleigh Bells tweeted at the singer in November 2015, saying, “Demi Lovato flattered you guys sampled Infinity Guitars & Riot Rhythm for ‘Stars’ but we were not contacted. Gotta clear those.”

Producers Falk and Yacoub responded to the alleged infringement last November in a statement to Rolling Stone.

“We did not use any samples in Demi Lovato’s song ‘Stars,’” the statement read. “Demi was also not involved with the production. She only wrote top line.”

[From Huffington Post]

It sounds like Demi didn’t have anything to do with this alleged sampling or infringement, but given that the news came out about it in November, and that it made it into the press, she probably should have followed up on it. Maybe her people assured her it was being taken care of.

It’s not all bad news for Demi Lovato. She celebrated her 24th birthday on Saturday and got a personal video message from the cast of The Walking Dead singing her happy birthday. How did she swing that? Demi posted a video of it to her snapchat, and you can watch it here. The actor who plays Eugene, Josh McDermitt, says in the message “I do appreciate the female form and throwing it out there to see if you wanna take me down to your paradise.” That made Demi laugh out loud. And now I have “Cool for The Summer” stuck in my head. Demi has not yet responded to the news of this lawsuit.

Here’s Demi’s song “Stars”:

And here’s Sleigh Bells’ song “Infinity Guitars”:

#hondacivictour #futurenow

A photo posted by Demi Lovato (@ddlovato) on

Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas performing on their 'Future Now' Tour

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14 Responses to “Demi Lovato sued for copyright infringement, her people deny sampling”

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  1. Erinn says:

    I know it’s awful… but I sort of want this one to stick just because I can’t stand Demi. If her people sampled it – then unfortunately, it’s her name attached. It must be hard to find people to trust in the industry – not even just as far as yes-men go, but as far as the people mixing stuff for you.

  2. Lexie says:

    Sleigh Bells’ debut Treats is one of my desert island albums. I can see why (and I do believe) Demi’s people copied them. Go to the original.

    • Little Darling says:

      Sleigh Bells is a FANTASTIC band. Love. Love.

    • Ellie says:

      God both of their albums are great. They’re very polarizing… Some of my friends asked “WTF is this noise?” when I had the album on in my car. But I love them so much that if I ever get married, I want “Infinity Guitars” playing when the bridal party walks into the reception, not that old as the hills T.I. “bring em out” song that seems to be everyone’s go-to.

    • a reader says:

      I love them too! LOUDEST shows I’ve ever been to. They must employ a heckuva sound guy/gal to tour with them, because the noises they make shouldn’t be possible. So innovative!

      Riot Rhythm is my favorite song and video by them. It reminds me of sabotage by the BBs.

  3. Noosa says:

    Is it weird or do i think the Sleigh Bells version is so similar to a song in the 80′s? I can’t put my finger on it yet. was it one of Adam Ants songs?

    Any help?

    • LeAnn Stinks says:

      It definitely has a retro feel, and I am getting a Def Leppard “Pour Some Sugar On Me,” vibe from it, but nothing hits exact.

      Also, I must be getting really old, because I find her vocals grating, and Demi’s, as well.

  4. Trixie says:

    Sleigh Bells’ music is really distinct, to me, in that every song sounds the same. And yeah, as soon as Demi’s song started I knew it sounded just like Sleigh Bells.

  5. Jay (the Canadian one) says:

    It doesn’t sound literally sampled to me, but it does sound like they mimicked it.

    • Scotchy says:

      I agree and that is how they will get away with it. If you re-produce something it’s not actually sampling. This happens all the time. Also I am pretty sure Sleigh Bells didn’t trademark that drum sample. Pop has always taken from cooler, blacker, edgier sources. I want everyone to be compensated, but I don’t think this case is that strong.

  6. Erica_V says:

    I see lawsuits like this and I facepalm at how Katy Perry was able to 100% rip off an ENTIRE SONG and somehow not get sued.

    • LeAnn Stinks says:

      Maybe she paid the artist an agreed amount upfront?

      I think Bruno Marsm and Mark Ronson, might have paid the Time off before they released “Uptown Funk,” to avoid a “Blurred Lines,” type of suit.

  7. Pants says:

    Could have sworn I heard on the radio this morning that Ariana Grande was just sued for the same thing.

  8. Kate says:

    Not the first time she’s been accused of ripping someone else off. She’s never been the original she has been so desperate to be.