U2 Slapped With $5 Million Copyright Lawsuit Over ‘Achtung Baby’ Track

Songwriter claims that Bono and the gang lifted from his tune for their song “The Fly”

Last Updated: February 28, 2017 @ 12:54 PM

U2 is probably wishing that songwriter Paul Rose would just buzz off right about now.

Bono, the Edge and their bandmates have been hit with a lawsuit by Rose, who alleges that the track “The Fly” from the group’s album “Achtung Baby” is a ripoff of one of his tunes.

In the suit, filed Monday in federal court in New York, Rose — described as “an internationally renowned writer, composer, guitarist and recording artist with 12 solo albums” — sent a demo including his tune “Nae Slappin” to Island Records in 1989, the same year that Island signed U2. According to the suit, the demo was circulated to “numerous senior executives” at the label. Not long after, the suit says, U2 began recording “Achtung Baby,” which includes “The Fly.”

“More than just reflecting the influence of an alternative sound, ‘The Fly’ copied and incorporated substantial, distinct, important and recognizable portions of Plaintiff’s work,” the lawsuit reads.

Among the alleged similarities: an “elaborate and distinctive guitar solo nearly identical” to the one in Rose’s song, the guitar hook, the percussion and the “dimensions of sound” used in the two tunes.

The lawsuit also gets in a couple of digs at the state of U2 prior to the release of “Achtung Baby,” saying that “the band felt in need of reinvigoration” at the end of the ’80s and that¬†¬† critics had come to believe that the group’s “sound had become ponderous, and its style pretentious.”

Alleging direct copyright infringement and other counts, the suit is seeking damages “in no event less that $5 million,’ plus attorney’s fees and interest. Rose also wants a writing credit on the track.

TheWrap has reached out to U2’s spokeswoman for comment.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.