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The Weeknd has settled an ongoing lawsuit with Suniel Fox and Henry Strange, two musicians who previously claimed that ‘Call Out My Name’, a 2018 track by The Weeknd and several collaborators including Nicolás Jaar, copied one of their own.
Both Fox and Strange – who perform as the duo Epikker – filed a lawsuit against the Canadian popstar in 2021 over copyright infringement alleging that ‘Call Out My Name’ sounded “substantially similar” to ‘Vibeking’, a 2015 single by Epikker.
The initial filing claimed that the 2018 track used the same “lead guitar and vocal hooks”, while both tracks play in a “similar tempo and 6/8 metre that is less common in popular music”.
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“Both works use features of electronica, ambience, pop, hip-hop, rock, and R&B to achieve a particularly atmospheric and melancholic sound,” said Fox and Strange in their initial court filing.
The case went to a federal court in Los Angeles on Friday, where The Weeknd – real name Abel Tesfaye – denied the claims. According to the BBC, Epikker’s lawyers asked for the case to be dismissed following a settlement, the terms of which were not disclosed.
“The parties are still in the process of formalising, executing, and consummating the deal”, Fox and Strange’s lawyers told the court on Friday. The BBC reported that Epikker’s original track was sent to a close friend and collaborator of Tesfaye, Eric White, in 2015.
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The pair claimed that ‘Vibeking’ was then shown to the Canadian singer, who had said the song was “fire”, and “liked” the track, per the court filing.
Shortly after, White reportedly emailed the pair saying that he would tell Tesfaye that his “production team wrote the track”, allegedly saying: “Just don’t wanna say ‘hey, [Strange] wrote this’ when he doesn’t know u.”
Tesfaye denied all claims of copyright infringement. ‘Call Out My Name’ went on to become one of The Weeknd’s most successful songs in 2018, peaking at No. 7 in the UK singles chart.
just for clarification, that weeknd song uses a sample (or “interpolation” actually) of “killing time” from my record “sirens” from 2016..wasn’t involved in the production, just got a call one day and accepted that they use it. https://t.co/6hdqiU1yCF
— N (@nicolas___jaar) September 23, 2021
In 2021, Nicolas Jaar cleared up claims that he had any involvement in the production of ‘Call Out My Name’. “Just for clarification, that Weeknd song uses a sample (or “interpolation” actually) of “killing time” from my record “sirens” from 2016,” he said, claiming he “wasn’t involved in the production” of the track.
Gemma Ross is Mixmag’s Editorial Assistant, follow her on Twitter
Written by: Tim Hopkins