Iconic '80s pop star Rick Astley has filed a lawsuit against Yung Gravy, claiming that the rapper's song Betty (Get Money) illegally used an impersonator who imitated Astley's distinctive baritone.
Betty (Get Money), which came in at #96 in yesterday's Hottest 100 of 2022, borrows the synthesiser and chorus from Never Going To Give You Up and credits songwriters Michael Stock, Matthew Aitken and Peter Waterman.
Yung Gravy and his team allegedly cleared the use of the underlying composition of the song and incorporated these elements into Betty in a musical technique called interpolation.
Because Yung Gravy didn't use any of Astley's original recording, it is not considered a sample.
However, the complaint filed on Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court said Yung Gravy's song violated Astley's right of publicity by featuring the singer Popnick, who imitated Astley's voice so well that listeners thought Astley was actually singing.
"In an effort to capitalise off of the immense popularity and goodwill of Mr. Astley, defendants … conspired to include a deliberate and nearly indistinguishable imitation of Mr. Astley's voice," the complaint said.
"The public could not tell the difference."
Astley's lawsuit seeks "millions of dollars" in damages, as well as profits from the song
Among the defendants are Yung Gravy, whose real name is Matthew Hauri, and his record label, Universal Music Group's (UMG.AS) Republic Records.
Astley, 56, reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1988 with Never Gonna Give You Up. The song saw resurgent popularity about two decades later through the "Rickroll" internet meme, where it unexpectedly interrupts unrelated content.
Astley's lawyer Richard Busch is known for representing Marvin Gaye's family against Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams over their alleged copying of the song Got to Give It Up for their Blurred Lines.
Story by: Reuters/ABC
Original story link: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-01-29/rick-astley-yung-gravy-never-gonna-give-you-up-lawsuit/101904306?utm_medium=social&utm_content=sf263796978&utm_campaign=abc_news&utm_source=m.facebook.com&sf263796978=1
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