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Rick Astley has filed a lawsuit against Eun Gravy over the rapper’s 2022 single “Betty (Get Money).” The song covers Astley’s 1987 hit “Never Gonna Give You Up,” and in the lawsuit, Astley claims Gravy imitated her voice without proper legal permission. Astley is suing the 26-year-old musician and his partners for violating his right of publicity, false endorsement, unfair competition and more.

“In order to exploit Mr. Astley’s enormous popularity and goodwill, the defendants conspired to deliberately and almost indiscriminately imitate Mr. Astley’s voice throughout the song,” the lawsuit states. “The imitation of Mr Astley’s voice was so successful that the public believed it was actually Mr Astley’s song and/or just a sample.”

The lawsuit, filed Thursday (January 26) in a Los Angeles court, alleges that Jung Gravy and his collaborators had the right to use the underlying musical composition, but not Astley’s voice, meaning they could 80- to use the hit of the mines, but no. sample it. Gravy worked with producer Popnik to recreate Astley’s voice as closely as possible, which Astley’s team claims is “an unauthorized, deliberate theft of his voice for commercial purposes”.

In the complaint, Astley’s lawyers cite a famous 1988 legal battle between actress Bette Midler and Ford Motor Co., which specifically hired a voice actor to impersonate Midler after the company failed to hire him for a series of commercials. Lawyers claim.

To be clear, again, as the Bette Midler court found more than 30 years ago, in one of the most famous cases in the music business, a license to use the original underlying musical work does not allow for stealing the artist’s work. sound in the original recording. To use an artist’s voice, creators of a new recording need a license to copy the actual sounds of the voice from the recording, a so-called “sample” license for the actual sounds of the voice from the recording. As noted, the defendants knew full well that this was the case, as Gravy said he had tried and failed to obtain a sample recording license for years. So instead they resorted to stealing Mr. Astley’s voice without a license and without consent.

Astley is represented by Richard S. Bush, the attorney who helped Marvin Gaye’s family win a copyright infringement case against Robin Thicke, Pharrell and T.I. over the song “Blurred Lines.” In a statement shared with Pitchfork, Bush said:

Mr. Astley owns his voice. California law is clear, since the Bette Midler case more than 30 years ago, no one has the right to copy or use it in a new recording without her permission, or pass it off as if she approved the use. We set forth the facts here in great detail in the complaint, and also set forth what the defendants themselves admitted. We look forward to now handling the case on Mr Astley’s behalf.

Pitchfork has also reached out to Yun Gravy’s representatives for comment.



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