Rapper Drake and Singer Chris Brown are facing a copyright infringement lawsuit over their certfied Platinum song “No Guidance”. Plaintiff, Brandon Cooper, who goes by the stage name Mr. Cooper, is claiming that “No Guidance” is so striking similar to his song, "I Love Your Dress", that there is no way it could have been created without access to his work. Links to both songs are provided below.
To prevail on a copyright infringement claim, a plaintiff must show that (1) They own the copyright in the infringed work, and (2) the defendant copied protected elements. A copyright plaintiff may prove copying with circumstantial or direct evidence. Absent direct evidence of copying, proof of infringement involves fact based showings that the defendant had ‘access’ to the plaintiff’s work and that the two works are ‘substantially similar.
Access and substantial similarity operate like a sliding scale: the greater the showing of access, the lesser the showing of substantial similarity is required. An A&R representative associated with Cash Money Records was sent an email reference to Mr. Coopers track. During the time when No Guidance was being created and recorded, Cash Money Records founder Birdman and Chris Brown were allegedly in regular and close contact as co-producers and co-stars, filming the movie entitled “She Ball “which is being used to establish access to the infringed work. Seems like a bit of a stretch but, lack of access will not defeat his case.
Circuits differ on how they approach “substantial similarity”. Many use a two part test: (1) An analytical dissection of the work with expert testimony to break down, filter and compare similar copyrighted elements. This prong helps determine if the infringers has taken the heart or a significant part of the original song. Contrary to popular belief, there is in fact, no five second or bright line rule. Even a very short sample may rise to the level of “substantially similar”. Specifically, Cooper claims his track has the lyrics ... "She got it; she got it" repeated 16 times while Chris Brown and Drake's No Guidance has "You got it, girl; you got it" at least 11 times. For the second prong (2), whether the ordinary, reasonable person would find the total concept and feel of the works to be substantially similar. Has the infringer transformed the copyrighted music and made it his/her own? Check back to find out how this case unfolds.
No Guidance- Chris Brown ft. Drake https://youtu.be/6L_k74BOLag
I Love Your Dress- Mr. Cooper https://youtu.be/LldZBzkDgk4
Court Document: https://www.courthousenews.com/.../chris-brown-drake-fla.pdfhttps://www.tmz.com/.../chris-brown-drake-sued-copyright.../