Singers Justin Bieber and Usher will be trialed for whether they illegally copied parts of a song after a federal appeals court ruling on Thursday. R&B singer Devin Copeland, better known as De Rico, and his songwriting partner, Mareio Overton, filed a $10 million lawsuit against Bieber and Usher in 2013, claiming that multiple versions of a song called “Somebody to Love”, recorded by Bieber and Usher, shared beats, time signatures and lyrics with a song Copeland and Overton wrote in 2008.
Last year, a lower court judge dismissed the case, saying each song sounded considerably different. However, on Thursday, the 4th Circuit Court in Richmond, Va., said that decision was a mistake. After listening to the Copeland song and the Bieber and Usher songs as wholes, we conclude that their choruses are similar enough and also significant enough that a reasonable jury could find the songs intrinsically similar,” Circuit Judge Pamela Harris wrote. Copeland and Overton say that their music scouts had played their song for Usher, who then told Bieber about it.
Bieber and Usher’s “Somebody to Love” eventually reached No. 15 on the Billboard charts in 2010.