Popular DJ Marshmello – real name Christopher Comstock – is now at the center of a new and controversial copyright infringement lawsuit.
Filed at the United States District Court for the Central District of California, Artem Stoliarov, better known as Arty, a successful Russian EDM producer, claims Comstock outright stole elements of his remix of One Republic’s ‘I Lived.’
Stoliarov has named Marshmello and his company, the EDM DJ’s co-writing team, Kobalt Music, Rokstone Music, Universal Polygram, WWKD Limited, and Polygram Publishing as defendants.
According to the 30-page lawsuit, Comstock and the other defendants willfully copied ‘I Lived (Arty Remix)’ in Marshmello’s song, ‘Happier.’
“The Infringing Work (i.e., ‘Happier’) directly misappropriates quantitatively and qualitatively important portions of [‘I Lived (Arty Remix)’] in a manner that’s easily recognizable to the ordinary observer.”
Arty, a Russian citizen living in the U.S. on a visa, created the remix. He describes himself as a musician, producer, and DJ in the lawsuit.
Powerhouse attorney Richard S. Busch – who successfully represented Marvin Gaye’s family in the ‘Blurred Lines’ lawsuit against Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams – represents Stoliarov. The Russian DJ has collaborated with top artists, including Halsey, Armin van Buuren, Above & Beyond, BT, Paul van Dky, Mat Zo, One Republic, and Matisse & Sakko.
Comstock released ‘Happier’ in 2018. Since September 29th, 2018, the track has remained the No. 1 song on Billboard’s Hot Dance/Electronic Songs for a total of 31 weeks. The RIAA certified the song 2x multi-platinum on January 22nd, 2019 for selling over 2 million copies.
In addition, out of 20 notes in ‘Happier,’ the order of the first 19 pitches remains identical to the order of Arty’s first 19 pitches. Plus, 11 of the 20 notes have identical pitches, metric placements, and rhythmic durations. Stoliarov then lists the exact notes and timing of both works.MORE NEWS: Spanish Court Sides With Shakira and Carlos Vives in ‘La Bicicleta’ Plagiarism Case
As Marshmello’s song has remained “overwhelmingly successful,” Comstock and the defendants continue exploiting Stoliarov’s original work. This includes profits from touring revenue, artist royalties, licensing revenue, producer royalties, and songwriting and publishing revenue.
“These opportunities would not have been available to Defendants if they hadn’t infringed Plaintiff’s Original Work.”
Thus, they’ve received, “or are owed in pipeline money,” more than $20 million in profits related to Stoliarov’s remix.
As Stoliarov remains the legal and beneficial owner of the U.S. copyright in ‘I Lived (Arty Remix),’ all defendants have directly, vicariously, and contributorily infringed and induced infringement on his original work.
In addition, as ‘Happier’ flat-out copies prominent parts of Arty’s remix, this satisfies both the intrinsic and extrinsic tests to establish copyright infringement.
Plus, Marshmellow, his team, and the other music companies continue to reproduce, distribute, and manufacture large copies of ‘Happier,’ violating Stoliarov’s copyrights.
In his prayer for relief, Arty has asked for actual damages and profits for copyright infringement. He has also asked for a jury trial in addition to a running royalty and ownership share in ‘Happier.’
In a statement to Digital Music News, Busch said,
“Everything we have to say is set out in detail in the Complaint, including the compelling musical transcriptions comparing the two works.”
Marshmello has yet to issue a formal response to the lawsuit.
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