Is it too late now to say sorry?
Indie pop star Casey Dienel, who performs under the moniker White Hinterland, is suing Justin Bieber and Skrillex for their song "Sorry." She claims in a new lawsuit they borrowed "unique characteristics of the female vocal riff" off her 2014 song "Ring The Bell" in their chart topping hit and wants a cut.
The sample in question is only an eight-second riff, but Dienel says Bieber uses it six times in "Sorry."
Skrillex detailed the song's makings in a 2015 interview with Fader and makes no mention of Dienel's song, saying: “I wrote the music to ‘Sorry’ with Justin in mind, it was one of the first things I wrote for the album. From the perspective of the producer, I find the muffled vocal chops to represent the people or situations in which Justin or the listener could be apologetic towards. The vocal manipulations make an ambiguous sound and a moment later Justin replies, ‘Sorry.’ I love that narrative.”
As expected, Bieber's fans went into defense mode and attacked Dienel for bringing attention to this suit simply for monetary gain. She wrote a lengthy message on Facebook clarifying.
As many of you that follow my career and work have already recognized, Justin Bieber’s song “Sorry” copies the vocal riff prominently featured in my song “Ring the Bell.” The writers, producers, and performers of “Sorry” did not obtain a license for this exploitation of my work, nor did they obtain or seek my permission. Yesterday afternoon, I filed a lawsuit for copyright infringement against Justin Bieber and the other responsible parties.
After this post, I intend to leave the subject matter of the lawsuit in the hands of my lawyers and the legal system. However, because I do not take the act of suing lightly, I want to take this opportunity to briefly explain my decision to those of you who are connected to me through family, friendship, and music.
Creating original and unique music is my life’s passion, but it is challenging and time consuming. I poured my blood, sweat, and tears into writing and producing “Ring the Bell,” and I am proud of the finished product, which Rolling Stone listed as one of its “favorite songs, albums, and videos.” Throughout my career, I have worked very hard to preserve my independence and creative control, thus it came as a shock to hear my work used and exploited without permission.
Like most artists that sample music, Bieber could have licensed my song for use in “Sorry.” But he chose not to contact me. After the release of “Sorry,” my lawyers sent Bieber a letter regarding the infringement, but Bieber’s team again chose to ignore me. I offered Bieber’s team an opportunity to have a private dialogue about the infringement, but they refused to even acknowledge my claim, despite the obviousness of the sample. Justin Bieber is the world’s biggest artist, and I’m sure that he and his team will launch a full attack against me. But, in the end, I was left with no other option. I believe I have an obligation to stand up for my music and art.
Thank you in advance for your support.
Casey Dienel (White Hinterland)
It's a good thing Bieber went on a boys road trip this week!
Listen to the two songs below to compare.
There are apparent similarities, but was it intentional, or an eerie coincidence?