H.E.R. Reaches Settlement Over Copyright Lawsuit For 2016 Song ‘Focus’
The $3 million lawsuit filed over H.E.R.’s 2016 song ‘Focus’ has reached a settlement. As previously reported, H.E.R. (born Gabrielle Wilson), music producer Darhyl “DJ” Camper, Justin Love, and Sony were hit with a major copyright infringement lawsuit by songwriter and piano maestro Andre Sims. In his suit, Andre Sims claimed that DJ Camper allegedly admitted on social media that he saw Sims playing his own song ‘Endless Minds’ on YouTube and used it for H.E.R.’s popular song ‘Focus’.
In an EXCLUSIVE interview with theJasmineBrand, Sims spoke on his lawsuit against H.E.R. and the 24-year-old’s musical team.
“As creatives, you know, we all we all trying to be creative and do things. We shouldn’t take from each other. We shouldn’t do this kind of thing … especially in our African-American culture of music. These are the things that we birthed in a lot of culture, in the genres…and to support each other more so than to take. So it was just kind of disheartening to discover this kind of information and I was just really hoping that I would at least get an apology.”
His lawyer added,
“Now once we got wind of it we did try to go to the handlers of H.E.R. and to some of the representatives and try to have some initial pre-litigation talks to see kind of how can we get an apology, can we resolve this. The basic premise was kind of like ‘hey Camper stole thiS. We don’t really want to discuss much, this is all Camper.’”
Sims’ lawyer also shared they were seeking $3 million because that’s how many times the song had been downloaded with sponsorship deals and concerts. H.E.R. also performed the song at Super Bowl LV.
In addition to copyright infringement, the suit included injunctive relief, an accounting of all monies made, and a request that the court requires the defendants to create a constructive trust to hold royalties. The lawsuit states:
“To write and record ‘Focus,’ and ultimately to produce, perform, distribute and otherwise exploit ‘Focus,’ Defendants [H.E.R., Camper, Love and Sony] copied ‘Endless Minds,’ to which they had prior access, resulting in the song ‘Focus,’ which is so similar to ‘Endless Minds’ that the ordinary observer could easily determine that the songs sound the same in their essential compositional and other elements.”
Details of the recent settlement weren’t disclosed. However, Sims spoke on the suit coming to an end and said,
“I’m happy we could reach a resolution and would like to thank everyone for their support and prayers.”
His lawyer added,
“At this point, we have nothing more to say than we are pleased to see the case resolved and settled. Now, all parties can move on with their lives. Special thanks to all of the attorneys involved who worked tirelessly to close this matter out.”
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