10. Robin Thicke, “Blurred Lines,” vs. Marvin Gaye, “Got to Give It Up”
“Blurred Lines” is arguably Robin Thicke’s biggest hit to date, but not everyone was totally enamored with the catchy tune (aside from feminists everywhere). The family of late soul singer Marvin Gaye sued Thicke and Pharrell Williams in 2015 for copyright infringement over the Grammy-nominated song, saying it was too similar to Gaye’s 1977 hit “Got to Give It Up.” Thicke and Williams lost, but then the two appealed, arguing that “a ‘groove’ or ‘feeling’ cannot be copyrighted, and inspiration is not copying.”
11. Ray Parker Jr., “Ghostbusters Theme,” vs. Huey Lewis, “I Want a New Drug”
Who doesn’t know the theme song to the Ghostbusters movies? Bet you didn’t know, though, that the Oscar-nominated theme song recorded by Ray Parker Jr. was so similar to Huey Lewis’ “I Want a New Drug” that Lewis successfully sued Parker. In an interesting turn of events, Parker sued Lewis right back when Lewis broke their confidentiality agreement by discussing the suit on VH1’s Behind the Music.
12. Jet, “Are You Gonna Be My Girl,” vs. Iggy Pop, “Lust for Life”
Jet fans know that “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” is the band’s most successful song. For detractors, however (and even more than a few reticent fans), the track bears uncanny similarities to the 1977 Iggy Pop song “Lust for Life.” Jet took a unique tactic in refuting the theory — they claimed they actually ripped off Motown songs like “You Can’t Hurry Love” by the Supremes much more.
13. David Guetta, “Play Hard,” vs. Alice Deejay, “Better Off Alone”
Here’s one of those examples that raises the question, How much sampling is too much sampling? It’s kind of a gray area in the world of music plagiarism, so it’s hard to know when to make that distinction. For now, David Guetta’s 2012 song “Play Hard” featuring Ne-Yo and Akon is considered to have “heavily” sampled the 1998 single “Better Off Alone” by Dutch group Alice DeeJay.
14. Jay-Z’s “Big Pimpin'” vs. Baligh Hamdi’s “Khosara Khosara”
“Big Pimpin'” was a big hit for Jay-Z in 1999-2000, even earning the honor of being named one of Rolling Stone‘s top 500 songs of all time. Unfortunately, the song isn’t without its fair share of litigation. Perhaps what makes the song so good is its distinctive underlying hook — a hook that comes from the song “Khosara Khosara,” originally written by Egyptian composer Baligh Hamdi. The song rights may actually belong to Hamdi’s heirs, who claim Jay-Z compromised their moral rights by sampling the song.
In October 2015, Jay-Z won the copyright infringement case.