Justin Bieber might be “Sorry” in more ways than one soon.
The pop star has just been slapped with a copyright infringement lawsuit by a musician who claims that the Biebs lifted the vocal riff in his hit song “Sorry” from one of her tunes.
In the suit, Casey Dienel — who performs under the name of White Hinterland — says that Bieber ripped off the “unique characteristics” of a female vocal riff from her 2014 song “Ring the Bell.”
Skrillex, a producer on “Sorry,” is also listed as a defendant in the lawsuit, as are the song’s writers.
“To write, create, produce and record the song ‘Sorry,’ the Defendants knowingly and unlawfully copied original, protectable elements of the musical composition of ‘Ring the Bell’ and unlawfully sampled Plaintiff’s protectable sound recording of ‘Ring the Bell,'” the lawsuit reads, adding that a license to sample the track wasn’t obtained by the defendants.
Dienel says that the uses of the vocal riff in the two songs is “virtually identical.”
“Both songs begin by using the vocal riff, without accompanying drum rhythms, in an introductory manner before the rhythm takes over, and both songs return identically, over and over again, to the opening vocal riff like a refrain in a poem, unifying the entire song,” the suit reads.
She also claims that she asked Bieber to stop using the riff in December, to no avail.
Released in October 2015, “Sorry” has been a big hit for Bieber, topping the Billboard Hot 100. But as the suit notes, “Ring the Bell” is no slouch, amassing 800,000-plus streams and receiving attention from music publications including Rolling Stone and Spin.
A representative for Bieber has not yet responded to TheWrap’s request for comment.
The suit, filed in federal court in Tennessee on Wednesday, is asking for a declaration that “Sorry” infringes on “Ring the Bell,” along with unspecified damages.
Listen to both songs below.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.