Jon Hume, Co-Songwriter Of Dean Lewis Hit Sues Universal Music Group

28 June 2024 | 9:35 am | Mary Varvaris

Hume is seeking “statutory damages, compensatory damages, reasonable attorneys’ fees, and costs from [UMG] for their direct infringements.”

Dean Lewis

Dean Lewis (Source: Supplied)

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Grammy-nominated songwriter Jon Hume, who’s credited as a co-songwriter for Dean Lewis’s 2018 hit single, Be Alright, is suing Universal Music Group and Universal Music Group Australia for using his “audio stems” in the song without permission.

In a lawsuit filed in the Nashville district court last week (19 June) and seen by Music Business Worldwide, Hume is suing UMG and Universal Music Group Australia for copyright infringement, alleging that the record companies “misappropriated the sounds embodied on the Stems” and they “concealed and misrepresented” to Hume about using the stems.

Hume is seeking “statutory damages, compensatory damages, reasonable attorneys’ fees, and costs from [UMG] for their direct infringements.”

The document states that Hume and Lewis composed an early version of Be Alright “on or about” September 2015, with Hume providing “stems” of him playing each instrument featured in the recording.

Excluding Lewis’ vocal, Hume claims that he produced, performed and recorded every instrument on Be Alright.

Hume claims that in 2016, at the time managing director of UMG Australia, Michael Taylor, requested that Hume send the stems to another producer, to which he says they were to be used as “reference” only.

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That request was made in an email to Hume and his wife, Karen. Jon Hume alleges that Taylor asked if UMG could use the original stems in the new “main” song and closed the email with a “smiley face symbol.”

UMG Australia and the Humes were in discussion about giving Hume a producer credit – the label and Lewis were expected to use the stems, after all. At the time of writing, Hume is credited as a songwriter on Be Alright.

In the complaint, Hume claimed that Taylor “purposefully and intentionally advised the Humes” that UMG Australia didn’t use the stems on the final version of the song (1 May 2018).

In December 2023, the lawsuit alleged that Dean Lewis approached Hume and provided him with the “entire collection of stems” that comprised the released master of Be Alright, which acted as a “reference for another song for which Dean Lewis was seeking Jon Hume’s services”.

Hume added that when he received those stems, he “discovered that, contrary to UMG’s representations, more than 50% of the Stems embodied in the Original Recording were also embodied in the Released Master”.

The lawsuit states that UMG “has claimed and registered a Copyright” featuring the recording of Hume’s recorded tracks. Hume’s legal representatives argue that “the Defendants have directly infringed Plaintiff’s Copyright in the Stems”.

Be Alright has been streamed more than 1.7 billion times on Spotify alone, certified 14-times Platinum in Australia (after debuting at #1 on the ARIA Singles Chart in 2018), and saw Lewis nominated for four ARIA Awards, taking home the award for Best Video.