Though her hit song “Domino” came out over a year ago, Jessie J might be looking at a serious price tag for the song due to some claims that she ripped off a few chords and melodies to make it.
Musician Will Loomis, frontman of Santa Barbara band Loomis and the Lust, filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against the UK pop star this week, seeking damages from the artist and her labels (Universal Music Group, Lava Records, Universal Republic Records) over the song, which he says is almost identical to one of his tunes. The claim is that she knowingly infringed on elements of Loomis' song “Bright Red Chords,” written in 2008, which appeared on the band's 2009 album Nagasha. Loomis says he'd caught wind of Jessie J's song, which shares the exact same four punchy guitar chords, after a fan from Albany, New York brought it to his attention.
“A fan of ours, who I'd never met, had bought our CD out of a bargain bin at a local record store,” Loomis told the Weekly over the phone. “A couple months later, he wrote me an email basically saying 'I just wanted to let you know that you're being ripped off by an artist in the U.K.'” After hearing Jessie J's song and sharing it with friends, Loomis decided he had a case. Listening to the two jams side by side, it's hard to argue that the structure, though very basic, is pretty much exactly the same right down to the phrasing of the verses.
Though most people have probably never heard of Loomis or his band, he isn't exactly unknown. The song, which is registered with the U.S. Copyright Office, garnered him some attention from MTV Iggy several years ago and the song made a brief run on various commercials and TV shows. Loomis's attorney, Chris Arledge of Newport Beach/LA firm One LLP, says Loomis never gave any kind of permission to Jessie J to use parts of his song. “We look forward to obtaining an appropriate remedy from the court to clear this infringement,” Arledge said in a statement.
Neither Jessie J (born Jessica Cornish) nor her labels were available for comment. Interestingly enough, she'll actually be appearing at the Nordoff Robbins 02 Silver Clef Awards (we'd never heard of it either) in the UK to Royal Albert Hall Best British Act Award for the superb chart performance of hits like 'Price Tag' and well, “Domino.” The song blew up after it was released in 2011, receiving platinum status and topping charts in the U.K. and Australia.
Recently, the pop star performed the song in question at Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee, which Loomis says was actually kind of cool, in a weird way. “Seeing this melody for a song that I came up with in my garage being played for the Queen of England in front of this huge crowd was pretty amazing. I've always dreamed of having a number one song and I never imagined this happening.”
Take a listen to both songs played side by side and tell us if you think this guy has a case.