HER Named as Defendant in Copyright and Sound Recording Infringement Action Brought by Take 6
Take 6’s Hit “Come Unto Me” from their GRAMMY winning album was sampled and copied by HER and “Could’ve Been” Writers
-James Walker, Jr.
ATLANTA, Georgia, USA, June 9, 2022 /EINPresswire.com/ — A lawsuit has been filed in the United States District Court, Southern District of New York (Civil Action No. 7:22-cv-03175-PMH) by Omerror Dawson and Take 6, winners of 10 GRAMMY, against songwriters Gabriella Sarmiento Wilson, known professionally as HER, Dernst Emile, Hue Wayne Strother aka “Soundz Fire”, Davis A. Harris d/b/a Progressive 86, and each of their Sony ATV Sounds, LLC, Sony Music Entertainment, Inc., EMI April Music, Inc., BMG Platinum Songs US, DII Music, LLC, I Am Her Publishing, Next Up Music Group, Tailored 4U Music, Universal Music Corporation and WC Music Corp.
The case is based on unlawful copyright infringement for HER’s song Could’ve Been” featuring Bryson Tiller. Omerror Dawson, who wrote Take 6’s “Come Unto Me,” which was sampled in “Could ‘ve Been’, along with Take 6 members Alvin Chea, Cedric Dent, Mark Kibble, Claude McKnight, David Thomas and Mervyn Warren, who were collectively known as Take 6, and Mervyn Warren Music, are the plaintiffs. Dawson and Mervyn Warren are the copyright owners of “Come Unto Me”, recorded in 1990.
The multi-count suit was prepared by attorney James Walker, whose suit against HER on similar charges for the 2016 song “Focus” was settled favorably for his clients in the same court in 2021. According to the pending lawsuit, “Could’ve Been” is composed of substantially similar compositional, rhythmic, and lyrical elements from Take 6’s “Come Unto Me” recording. Musicologist and super producer Kevin Bond reviewed both songs and concluded, “It seems very clear to me that the two songs are very similar. It is obvious that someone lifted the Take 6 sample and must be held responsible. “It is very unfortunate that after months of trying to resolve this issue, Take 6, one of the most iconic bands in music history, has no alternative but to file this serious lawsuit. “, according to senior counsel Walker. He added: “We are also seeking a permanent injunction for the album to be removed and for the label to freeze all royalties related to the ‘Focus’ album, on which the song in question appears.”
Take 6’s album “So Much To Say,” on which “Come Unto Me” appeared, earned their third GRAMMY out of 10 wins, for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album at the 33rd GRAMMY Awards in 1990. The legendary band won also received 10 Dove Awards, a Soul Train Award and was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.
HER’s “Could’ve Been” was released initially on his EP titled “I Used To Know HER: The Prelude” in 2018 and again on the compilation album “I Used To Know HER” the following year. It reached number two on the US Billboard Adult R&B charts, was nominated for several awards, and sold over 2 million copies, indicating significant financial success for each of the defendants. It is alleged that original segments of “Come Unto Me” were sampled in the song “Could’ve Been”. Furthermore, the lawsuit also asserts that the “use of plaintiffs’ voice (Take 6) and imitation of their distinctive mark was unauthorized and unlawful.”
In addition to his own recordings, HER representatives have licensed the song in question to numerous entities, including Napster, Wal-Mart, among others, and for use as cellphone ringtones to the financial detriment of Take 6 and the authors of “Come Unto Me”. Thus, the lawsuit seeks a full accounting of the fees and royalties generated by the work from record sales, sheet music editions, synchronization fees, performance royalties, PRO income and all other sources of income.
The plaintiffs seek compensatory, statutory and punitive damages as well as injunctive relief for copyright infringement and likeness appropriation for an undisclosed amount and seek a jury trial.