Lots of songs end up sounding similar by the time they’re finally released — after millennia of compositions, there are only so many combinations left untouched. However, few are deemed close enough to be worthy of a lawsuit for copyright infringement. That being said, Arty is suing Marshmello for allegedly stealing elements from his remix of the One Republic song, “I Lived,” for the latter’s “Happier” with Bastille.
In addition to Marshmello, the suit names his cowriters on the song, Daniel Campbell Smith, the cofounder of the British rock band Bastille, and Steve Mac as defendants.
Arty and Marshmello share a music publisher, Kobalt Music, which is also a defendant in the suit.
Writes Tennessean, “Because the copyright lawsuit, filed in federal court in California, focuses only on the remixed elements of the song, the case is sure to grab attention in the music industry. Arty is represented by prominent Nashville copyright attorney Richard Busch, who has won a number of landmark cases, notably Marvin Gaye’s lawsuit against Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke over the song ‘Blurred Lines.’”
According to the lawsuit, Marshmello could have become familiar with Arty’s remix because they frequently crossed paths. However, to be devil’s advocate, Arty’s remix was released in 2014. The Marshmello project did not debut until 2015.
The lawsuit claims that Marshmello’s hit song “Happier,” which reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, directly copies from the “I Lived – Arty Remix.”
By our own estimates, this is how the notes in the two tracks look side by side. (Arty is green, Marshmello in red.)
“Everything we have to say is set out in detail in the complaint, including the compelling musical transcriptions comparing the two works,” Busch said.
Listen to the two side by side below. (Listen to Arty’s remix at 0.75x speed if you’re having trouble noticing the similarities.)