Nickleback To Face Lawsuit For “Rockstar” Copyright Infringement

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A US judge has ruled that Nickleback should face a lawsuit for alleged copyright infringement regarding their 2005 hit “Rockstar”.

This lawsuit was filed in the US District Court by Kirk Johnston. The lawsuit claims that Johnston’s old band Snowblind Revival had created a master recording of their track “Rock Star” in 2001.

The lawsuit also claims that the band sent copies of these recordings to A&R representatives from various labels. The labels include Warner Music Group and Universal Music Group. Johnston also claims in the lawsuit that they held an face to face meeting with Universal staff, where they provided copies.

The lawsuit also cites members of Nickleback, their publisher Warner Chappell, the band’s former label Roadrunner and promoter Live Nation as defendants. The defendants had also filed to dismiss this lawsuit October 2020.

“Substantial amount of the music” 

Johnston claims that Nickleback’s “Rockstar” copied a “substantial amount of the music” from his composition.

This allegedly includes,“tempo, song form, melodic structure, harmonic structures and lyrical themes”. Johnston even alleges that Nickleback would have had access to the Snowblind Revival track when the reps for Universal and Warner received master recordings.

This song featured on the band’s album “All The Right Reasons”. 

On the other hand, the defendants claimed that “fundamentally, the works at issue are not substantially similar to an ordinary observer”. 

Do you think they are similar? Check them out here.

“above the speculative level”

Last week, the magistrate Judge Susan Hightower said that Johnston’s claims are “above the speculative level, which is all that is required at the pleading stage”. 

She also added that he has “sufficiently pled substantial similarity to” Nickelback’s song ‘Rockstar’.

After listening to the two tracks, the judge concluded that “it is possible for a reasonable juror to determine that the works share protectable elements”.

Although she did maintain that it remains to be seen whether or not Johnston can prove conclusively the “striking” similarities between the two tracks.

Along with dimissing Nickleback’s case to dismiss the lawsuit, the magistrate also order the removal of Live Nation as a defendant, due to the plaitiff’s complaint “lacks any factual allegations that would allow a reasonable inference that Live Nation was aware of and materially contributed to infringing activity”.#