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Chris Brown and Drake reject copyright infringement claim

The defendants’ legal team filed a motion on Tuesday to dismiss a lawsuit claiming their song “No Guidance” ripped off Mr. Cooper’s “I Love Your Dress.”

January 13, 2022
Chris Brown and Drake reject copyright infringement claim Photos by Emma McIntyre and Amy Sussman via Getty Images  

Attorneys for Chris Brown and Drake have filed a motion to dismiss a copyright infringement lawsuit brought against them by Brandon Cooper (Mr. Cooper) and Timothy Valentine, who claim the two pop stars' 2019 hit "No Guidance" stole elements of their 2016 song, "I Love Your Dress."

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The new motion refers to Cooper and Valentine's case as "baseless," rejecting the idea that Chris Brown and Drake — "two of the biggest musical artists in the world" — would have "accessed Plaintiffs’ obscure song," which wasn't added to streaming services until January 2019, "copied certain aspects of the song...and then promptly released a 'forged' song."

Defense attorney James G. Sammataro argues that the plaintiffs' case rests on the "alleged similarity between the wholly generic lyrical phrase 'you got it,'” the central lyric to both songs' hooks, "and the alleged similar (and unoriginal) theme of a hard-working, attractive woman." He points out that "you got it" is not a copyrightable phrase, nor are lyrical themes copyrightable in general.

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Sammataro goes on to lay out the fundamental differences between "I Love Your Dress" and "No Guidance": "Plaintiffs’ song is a slow, R&B love ballad about the writer’s wife featuring one vocalist and relatively few lyrics. In sharp contrast, ‘No Guidance’ is a faster, longer, and sexually explicit rap and R&B song about a new romantic interest.”

But most importantly, he asserts, Cooper and Valentine have not proven and cannot prove that Chris Brown and Drake had ever heard "I Love Your Dress" before or during they made "No Guidance," an obligation all musical copyright infringement cases must meet.

The FADER has reached out to attorneys for both the plaintiffs and defendants for further comment on the motion.

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Chris Brown and Drake reject copyright infringement claim