Miley Cyrus Sued for Copyright Infringement: Word Up

What’s in a name? What’s in a lyric? Apparently, $300 million, according to a lawsuit filed against Miley Cyrus by Jamaican singer/songwriter Michael May, aka Flourgon.

The lawsuit claims that popstar Cyrus’ 2013 hit “We Can’t Stop” illegally uses a phrase from Flourgon’s 1988 single “We Run Things” released in Jamaica. The song reached the Number 1 spot on Jamaican charts. The lyric in dispute is in the chorus. Flourgon’s lyric is, “We run things, things no run we.” In Miley Cyrus’ song, she sings, “We run things, things don’t run we.” Close, no? Other than that lyric, the songs are completely different.

Included in the lawsuit are Mike Williams (Mike Will Made It), Pierre Slaughter (P-Nasty) and Theron and Timothy Thomas (Rock City); Cyrus’ manager, Larry Rudolph, is also being named in the lawsuit.

The Jamaican resident is also seeking to stop any further performances or sales of the song “We Can’t Stop.” In August, 2013, the song reached Number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop charts. Ironically, the No. 1 spot was taken by Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” which was subject to another copyright infringement case, claiming similarities to Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give it Up.”

Flourgon claims, according to the paperwork filed, that Cyrus’ hit “owes the basis of its chart-topping popularity to and its highly-lucrative success to plaintiff May’s (Flourgon) protected, unique, creative and original content.”

Unlike many other recent cases where the melodies or musical styles are claimed to have been copied, this case is based on the lyric. It seems pretty obvious that there is a similarity. However, here’s the twist. Long before Flourgon’s hit, there was an old Jamaican proverb that goes, “We run tings, tings nah run we.” Did Miley Cyrus use the phrase from the song, or from the saying? Apparently, only a jury can say.

Take a listen to both. The Cyrus song might only be guilty of blatant product placement and nothing more. A trial judgement will have the final say about who’s running things.

Miley Cyrus “We Can’t Stop”

Flourgon “We Run Things”