Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars Face Copyright Lawsuit Over 'Uptown Funk'

31 October 2016 | 12:27 pm | Staff Writer

The complaint was filed in California at the weekend

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Renowned songwriter and producer Mark Ronson and his Uptown Funk collaborator Bruno Mars are facing legal action over their 2014 mega-hit after an electro-funk band that was active in the 1980s filed a lawsuit over audible similarities to one of their songs.

Ronson and Mars — under his real name, Peter Gene Hernandez — are listed as defendants in a complaint filed with the California Central District Court by Larry White, a member of Minneapolis-based '80s group Collage, as well as the estates of late members Lee Peters and Grady Wilkins, and record label Yours, Mine & Ours Music.

According to Pitchfork, the complaint itself cites a fairly comprehensive accusation against the Uptown Funk writers in terms of how much inspiration was taken from Collage's 1983 track Young Girls; White and his co-defendants believe a great number of Uptown Funk's features and feelings are evidently lifts, "including, but not limited to, the distinct funky specifically noted and timed consistent guitar riffs present throughout the compositions, virtually if not identical bass notes and sequence, rhythm, structure, crescendo of horns and synthesizers rendering the compositions almost indistinguishable if played over each other and strikingly similar if played in consecutively".

The plaintiffs are represented by Antonio K Kizzie of Ivie, Mcneill & Wyatt, Los Angeles.

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An absolute mess of industry companies are listed as defendants along with Ronson and Mars, including Atlantic Recording Company, IMAGEM Music Inc, Mars Force Music LP, RCA Records Inc, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Corporation, WB Music Corp, Warner/Chappell Music Inc, Way Above Music (BMI), Windswept Holdings LLC, ZZR Music LLC, TIG7 Publishing LLC and Thou Art The Hunger.

Further individuals being sued by the Collage members include rapper Trinidad James (as Nicholaus Williams), Mars' bassist, Jamareo Artis, frequent Kanye West collaborator Jeff Bhasker, producer Christopher Gallaspy and songwriters Philip Lawrence and Ari Levine.

The songwriters of Uptown Funk previously headed off legal action from veteran outfit The Gap Band by crediting its members after they alleged copyright infringement for similarities to their 1979 funk anthem Oops Up Side Your Head, while pioneering rap group The Sequence also claimed — without pursuing legal action — similarities to their own notable single of the same year, Funk You Up.