In a shocking new lawsuit, two beloved coaches from NBC’s The Voice are accused of deliberately ripping off another artist’s song and profiting heavily from it – to the tune of $25 million!
The lawsuit, filed in Colorado district court, alleges that both Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Williams have earned money from a song that contains lyrics ripped directly from a song penned nearly two decades ago.
Stefani, who originally rose to fame as the frontwoman for No Doubt, has since championed a successful solo career and has worked extensively on her music alongside fellow ‘Voice’ coach Pharrell Williams – who is known worldwide for his insane talent as both a writer and producer.
The song in question is Stefani’s 2014 hit, “Spark the Fire” which peaked in the Top 40 on Billboard’s US Pop Digital Songs Chart and received heavy usage in several commercials from Fiat, Mastercard, and a TV promo for Scream Queens.
As TMZ points out, The plaintiff in the case, Richard Morrill, claims that Stefani allegedly stole the lyrics for part of the song straight from him, and failed to credit him with it or provide royalties for its use. Morrill is the pop star’s former stylist and currently owns a salon in Colorado – where the suit was filed.
In the suit, Morrill states that, Stefani came to visit him in Huntington Beach for a hairstyling appointment and, at that point, had been a longtime client of his. It was during that visit, he claims, that he first introduced Stefani to a song he wrote, called “Who’s Got My Lightah” and it piqued her interest enough that she accepted a CD from him.
Morrill states that his final cut of the song was finally published in May 2009 – nearly 5 years before Stefani’s alleged ripoff would hit the radio.
The basis for Morrill’s claims, he says, are contained in one line of Stefani’s song, “Who got the lighter? Let’s spark the fire. Who got the lighter? Let’s spark the fire,” which she allegedly claimed to have written herself in an interview with Elle Magazine.
Daily Mail apparently has obtained copies of the court documents for the lawsuit and states that Morrill, who filed a copyright for the song in October 2016, says “The rhythm, melody, and background music during the chorus of “Spark the Fire” is almost identical to the chorus of “Who’s Got My Lighter.”
Morrill is suing both Stefani and Pharrell for copyright infringement, demanding a jury trial, and claiming that the two major music figures owe him around $25 million in royalties.
Listen to both the songs below and let us know what you think in the comments.