Though Robin Thicke’s single with T.I. and Pharrell “Blurred Lines” was an incredible hit by any definition of the word, it made headlines outside of your music publications for two reasons. First, it was the incredibly provocative music video which needs no further explanation, but then it was then multi-million dollar copyright lawsuit from Marvin Gaye’s estate.
If you’re wondering why on Earth I would bring this up again now it’s because the same lawyer that successfully prosecuted Robin Thicke, Richard Busch on behalf of Golden Crown Publishing, is bringing forward a case alleging that DJ Snake and Lil Jon stole “Turn Down For What” from his clients rap group, The Architectz. They’re seeking a permanent injunction in addition to monetary damages.
Freddie GZ of The Architectz wrote and produced a single called “Turn Down For What” which was released globally in March 2013 – six months before DJ Snake released his version. Though the number of Spotify streams on his version of the single are absolutely dwarfed by the DJ Snake hit, over 1:700 to be precise, the plaintiffs are arguing that a previous rap radio hit by Freddie GZ entitled “Quagmire” would have exposed his work to a majority of mainstream rappers – Lil Jon included – which allegedly prompted DJ Snake and Lil Jon to hop on the bandwagon and compose a song of the same title due to the “acclaim and nationwide recognition and distribution’ of the original.
The plaintiff’s case rests on the accusation of there being “striking similarity with written and visual comparisons of where the beats line up, where voices both drop in pitch, where measures in each of the songs repeat, and corresponding note progressions” in the DJ Snake & Lil Jon version of the record.
The lawsuit is further complicated by the fact that Lil Jon has actually since trademarked the phrase for his own branding in addition to the worldwide notoriety it brought them in marketing, merchandising and more – all of which the plaintiffs will undoubtedly be looking for a slice of the pie in.
In addition to Lil Jon and DJ Snake is Sony Music, who licensed the record via its Columbia. Kobalt Publishing is also listed, they acted as a sub-publisher on the record and find themselves alongside several other relevant parties listed as defendants.
Compare the two for yourself below.