Jamaican songwriter sues Miley Cyrus, seeks $390 million


Miley Cyrus was sued for US$300 million by a Jamaican songwriter who said the singer's 2013 hit We Can't Stop closely resembles a song he recorded 25 years earlier.
Miley Cyrus was sued for US$300 million by a Jamaican songwriter who said the singer's 2013 hit We Can't Stop closely resembles a song he recorded 25 years earlier.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - Miley Cyrus was sued for US$300 million (S$393.5 million) on Tuesday (Mar 13) by a Jamaican songwriter who said the pop singer's 2013 smash We Can't Stop closely resembles a song he recorded 25 years earlier, and that she is infringing his copyright.

Michael May, who performs as Flourgon, said his 1988 song We Run Things has been "a favourite for lovers of reggae music worldwide" since reaching No. 1 in his home country, and that about 50 percent of We Can't Stop comes from him.

He accused Cyrus and her label RCA Records, owned by Sony Corp, of misappropriating his material, including the phrase "We run things. Things no run we," which she sings as "We run things. Things don't run we." Representatives for Cyrus, 25, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A spokeswoman for Sony did not immediately respond to a similar request.

May said he sought to protect his work last year with the US Copyright Office, and in November won "formal copyright protection" for all musical arrangements in We Run Things. He said Cyrus' song "owes the basis of its chart-topping popularity to and its highly-lucrative success to plaintiff May's protected, unique, creative and original content."

The Kingston, Jamaica resident is also seeking a halt to further sales and performances of We Can't Stop, according to his complaint filed with the US District Court in Manhattan.

While the complaint did not specify damages, May's lawyers in a press statement described it as a US$300 million case.

We Can't Stop, from Cyrus' album Bangerz, peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in August 2013.

It was kept from the top by Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines,itself the subject of a high-profile copyright case over its resemblance to a 1977 Marvin Gaye song.