Usher’s songwriter wins in court: $44 million payday

Usher songwriter copyright ingringement

Do you remember Usher’s 2004 breakthrough album Confessions? Let me help you, it was the one that contained smash hit and modern classic Yeah!, has been certified Diamond by the RIAA (over 10 million records sold) and even earned Usher a Grammy. The album featured Bad Girl, a song written by a team of songwriters. One of them is Daniel Marino. In 2011 he sued his fellow songwriters for not getting writing credits for Usher’s Bad Girl. Last month Marino was awarded $44.35 million by a Philadelphia court.

Marino claims he worked between 2001 and 2002 with his fellow songwriters on a project called Club Girl. This project would later be renamed Bad Girl and released by Usher. Marino states he wrote the song’s chord progression, guitar hook and determined the song’s tempo, among other things; all in all a substantial part of the song. The other songwriters wrote the lyrics and made the beat, Marino claims.

Usher songwriter copyright infringement

Usher songwriter copyright infringement

According to Marino the songwriters agreed to split song’s earnings between them. He subsequently believed that the other songwriters signed contracts with Usher’s team to exclude Marino from both songwriting credits and earnings. He suspects that the others earned around $700k from the project previously known as Club Girl.

The Philadelphia jury awarded Marino $27 million in compensatory and punitive damages by one of his fellow songwriters. The case also contained a joined case settlement concerning the music production company of one of the other songwriters. That company agreed to pay $17.35 million to settle the case, bringing Marino’s award to a total of $44.35 million. A transcription of court proceedings indicates that Marino also received a third of the ownership rights to the song. Now that he’s credited for his work, he will start to receive streaming royalties for his work on the song.

By using MySoundsafe, you can save the moment of creation using blockchain technology. You log the basis of your music, potentially a world hit record, backed by immutable proof you made it. From the first draft of an idea to the final mix, you can log your creation in a secure manner. That way it is very easy to prove that you’re the original creator of the audio file. Indisputable and transparent for everyone to check.

In this case the final result turned out to be quite fortunate for Marino. However, going to court is always a coinflip. Prior to going to court, it’s never clear if you’re going to win or not. Marino could’ve lost this case as well and missed out on over $44 million. For a small amount of money, he could’ve used MySoundsafe to create a solid foundation to prove he contributed to the song.

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Usher songwriter copyright infringement
Usher songwriter copyright ingringement