Posted: Tuesday – June 16, 2009
A record label based in Helsinki, Finland has brought a lawsuit against multi-platinum super producer Timbaland and pop star Nelly Furtado, alleging that the duo heavily borrowed from a song recorded by Finnish artists to create the song “Do It.”
The song, produced by Timbaland and written by Furtado, appeared on the Canadian singer’s third studio album, Loose, release in June 2006.
The plaintiff, Kernel Records Oy, alleges that “Do It” was recorded using the “original and central identifying melodic, harmonic and rhythmic components” of the song “Acidjazzed Evening,” which Kernel Records acquired in 2007.
As explained in the lawsuit, filed in the Miami-Dade Division of the US District Court Southern District of Florida on June 11, the song was originally created as a computer recording by composer Janne Suni in 2000.
The same year, Suni presented the recording at the Assembly 2000 Old Skool Music Competition, taking home the first place title.
In 2002, Acidjazzed Evening was re-recorded in the Commodore 64 SID format by Norwegian musician Glenn Rune Gallefoss at Suni’s request.
The suit states that the two are clearly different versions.
The claim alleges that when Timbaland created the beat for “Do It” in 2006, using a program that emulates the Commodore 64 SID chip, he “knowingly and willfully stole” Gallefoss’s creation.
The next year, in August 2007, Gallefoss transferred “all transferable rights” to the song “Acidjazzed Evening” to Kernel Records.
Coincidentally, in January 2007, a YouTube video was posted by an anonymous user who made the first accusation that Timbaland’s work on “Do It” was not original.
The video shows portions of “Do It” and Suni’s original version “Acidjazzed Evening” as they appear in recording software to demonstrate just how similar they are.
The lawsuit also cites two 2007 interviews with Timbaland, which the plaintiff claims point to his guilt in the matter.
On February 2, 2007, he was asked about the situation during a chat with WWDC’s “Elliott in the Morning.”
“That mess is so ridiculous. I can’t really discuss it because it’s a legal matter. But that’s why people don’t believe it. It’s from a video game, idiot. Sample and stole is two different things. Stole is like I walked in your house, watched you make it, stole your protools, went to my house and told Nelly, ‘Hey, I got a great song for you.’ Sample is like you heard it somewhere, and you just sampled. Maybe you didn’t know who it was by because it don’t have the credits listed.”
Timbaland went on to explain that he did expect the possibility that someone might levy a copyright infringement suit, but that it was never clear whether or not the sound he utilized was public domain.
With “Do It” having been released on the multi-platinum selling Loose, the live CD and DVD Loose: The Concert, and as a single, Kernel Records has also named the Mosley Music Group, Interscope-Geffen-A&M and Universal Music Distribution as co-defendants in the lawsuit.
Kernel has charged all defendants with copyright infringement, requested that the ownership of the copyrights held by Mosley Music, LLC and Geffen be transferred back, and requested an injunction prohibiting the further release, reprinting, performance and sale of the song “Do It.”