Mark Ronson will once again be returning to court over Bruno Mars collaboration ‘Uptown Funk’.
Released in back in November 2014, the duo have been sued numerous times over the track. First, members of The Gap Band managed to successfully get their names added as core songwriters, the record taking inspiration from their hit ‘Oops! Upside Your Head’.
Serbian artist Snezana Miskovic — who performs under the name Viktorija — later attempted to sue, claiming the track stole from their record ‘Ulice Mracne Nisu Za Devojke’.
Last year, College attempted to sue Ronson and Mars due to similarities with their track ‘Young Girls’, claiming the tracks were "almost indistinguishable”.
Now, almost three years after ‘Uptown Funk’ was released, the publishing company who own the rights to Zapp & Roger are suing Ronson (not Mars), claiming copyright infringement over their track ‘More Bounce To The Ounce’.
The lawsuit against Ronson, producer Jeff Bhasker, Sony/ATV, Warner/Chappell, Vevo, Spotify, Apple, and others was filed on Tuesday, 12 September.
"Mark Ronson failed in his goal to write something new,” reads the suit, according to Billboard. "Substantial parts of 'Uptown Funk' were copied from 'More Bounce to the Ounce.' The significant and substantial similarities between the two songs have been widely commented on by ordinary observers, musicians, independent critics and commentators.”
The plaintiff’s use examples of reviews by Billboard and Slate, along with a Tweet by Living Colour guitarist Vernon Reid, as examples of people comparing the two tracks.
As further evidence, they cite a TED Talk Ronson gave in which the producer spoke about English musicians "copying the works of blues musicians,” including the lines “if you... copy without making it a carbon copy... it is original.”
They also quote an interview with Ronson concerning ‘Uptown Funk’ in which he said: "Roger Troutman and Zapp, we heard them a whole lot in our formative years. You can't help hide those things that are your influence, but at the same time the goal is to do something new.”
The publishing company say the 0:47-2:10.2 section of ‘Uptown Funk’ is almost identical to various elements of ‘More Bounce’, including the "three-note introductory talk-box melody 'doubled' on guitar; chordal pattern; eight note melody: instrumentation; talk-box vocalization of the word 'doh'; and clap groove on the backbeat."
"There are no other songs, other than 'More Bounce' and 'Uptown Funk,' that feature this sequence and combination of musical elements,” they add.
Ronson and RCA Records have not commented on the situation. Listen to all the tracks ‘Uptown Funk’ apparently copied below.
Many commentators have drawn similarities between the current Ronson case and that of Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams’ track ‘Blurred Lines’ which was successfully sued by Martin Gaye’s family, who claimed the track sounded like the 1977 hit ‘Got to Give It Up.’