The Copyright Cases: Miley Cyrus vs. Michael May “Flourgon”

Every Thursday we plan to present you with a case that involves copyright infringement within the music industry. We call this – The Copyright Cases.

This week we have a recent case filed on March 13th this year involving Disney girl gone rebel popstar, Miley Cyrus, and a jamaican artist, Michael May, who performs as Flourgon. May is accusing Miley’s No. 2 song “We Can’t Stop” is copyright infringement on his 1988 hit “We Run Things,” which he said has been a “favorite for lovers of reggae music worldwide” since it reached No. 1 in Jamaica.

You can check out the video of both songs here:

May sued Miley, her writers and producers on the song, including Theron Thomas, Timothy Thomas, and Mike Williams, as well as Cyrus’ manager Larry Rudolph, Sony Music and RCA Records, for $300 million. May accused the team of misappropriating his lyrics, which include “We run things/ Things no run we,” which Cyrus sings as “We run things/ Things don’t run we.”

In November of last year, May filed to have “formal copyright protection” with the U.S. Copyright Office for all musical arrangements of “We Run Things”, which he was granted. He claims that Miley’s “We Can’t Stop” would not have had its popularity and success without the line she “stole” from him.

Not only does May want $300 million for this, but he also wants to prohibit the further sale and performance of Miley’s song, as well. Pretty harsh conditions, if you ask us.

Our question to you is: do you think an artist can claim rights on an idea, or a lyrical sequence, like May is doing? What do you think the outcome will be? Leave your comments below.

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