The Weeknd is being taken to court over alleged copyright infringement on his song “Call Out My Name.”
According to a report by Pitchfork, producers Suniel Fox and Henry Strange, who collaborator as Epikker, filed the lawsuit on September 17th alleging that the track from the singer’s 2018 EP My Dear Melancholy is “strikingly and/or substantially similar, if not identical” to their own song “Vibeking” from 2015. The Weeknd’s collaborators Nicolás Jaar and Frank Dukes were also named in the suit.
In the filing, Fox and Strange point out several similarities in the two songs, including that “Call Out My Name” uses the same scale degrees as “Vibeking,” particularly in the hook’s melody. “Both works are in a minor key. Both works are in a 6/8 meter that is less common in popular music. Both works are played at a similar tempo. And both works use features of electronica, ambience, pop, hip-hop, rock, and R&B to achieve a particular atmospheric and melancholic sound,” the lawsuit states.
While compositional structure like tempo, genre, and general “atmospheric sound” may seem like vague comparisons on paper, the duo also included musical charts showing side-by-side notations of the two songs to help make their point.
“The Weeknd is no stranger to accusations of infringement, and this one is probably the most egregious claim against him and his team to date,” an attorney for Fox and Strange told Pitchfork. “Epikker (Suniel and Henry) works with many artists in the industry, and was profoundly disappointed to discover the liberal copying of ‘Vibeking,’ an original Epikker song that was shared with The Weeknd years ago in good faith, in ‘Call Out My Name.’ We look forward to bringing these facts to light and securing reasonable compensation and credit for Epikker.”
Additionally, Jaar took to social media to clarify his role in the song and subsequent lawsuit, distancing himself by claiming The Weeknd’s song merely uses an interpolation of the track “Killing Time” off his 2016 album Sirens. “Wasn’t involved in the production, just got a call one day and accepted that they use it,” he tweeted.
It’s not all bad news as of late for Abel Tesfaye, though. His 2019 No. 1 hit “Blinding Lights” set the record last month for the most weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, at a staggering 88 consecutive weeks. Just a few weeks ago, he also reached into the vault to share an alternate video for his 2015 smash hit “Can’t Feel My Face.”