Elton John is being sued for copyright infringement. In a lawsuit filed in Illinois in April of 2012, Gary Hobbs is claiming that John stole lyrics from his 1982 song “Natasha” and used them in John’s 1985 song “Nikita” without the consent of Hobbs. In addition, Hobbs claims that John shopped the lyrics around to multiple publishing companies, including John’s song publisher, Big Pig Music Ltd.
John is requesting that the lawsuit be dismissed. The legal documents filed in opposition to the suit state that, “The suggestion that the Grammy-Award winning composer/lyricist team of Elton John and Bernie Taupin … would need to copy these commonplace elements from [Hobbs’] lyrics is not only baseless and absurd, but it also misses the essential legal point.” The legal point mentioned is that copyrights are not issued for mere ideas or themes. John’s attorneys claim that the lawsuit is so vague that Hobbs does not have the legal right to sue for copyright infringement.
Hobbs’ lawsuit also states that John copied the phrase ‘I need you,’ which is in the chorus, and the words ‘just’ and ‘never.’ John is claiming that the lawsuit by Hobbs is so vague that he does not have the right to sue over copyright infringement.
The court has not yet decided if the lawsuit will be dismissed.
In my opinion, this lawsuit should be dismissed. There are so many love songs with similar themes. If this lawsuit becomes viable, the courts are opening up the doors to copyright infringement cases at every turn. Music deals with recurring themes in life, that being love, loss, happiness, sadness, etc. It is a shared human experience, and many songs have the same themes. It is ridiculous to claim that a “theme” was stolen let alone the highly common verbiage of “I need you” and “just” and “never.” Do a google search for those words in song lyrics and I am sure there will be hundreds, if not thousands of results.
In addition, the amount of time that has elapsed in bringing this suit is just another issue. It has been nearly 30 years since John’s song was released. If the allegation was truly so egregious, Hobbs would have brought it in 1985 upon the release of the song. Or at least one would think that would be the case. Right?
My verdict would be: CASE DISMISSED. ROCK ON ELTON JOHN!!!