Miley Cyrus came up short in her effort to have a massive lawsuit against her thrown out after a judge ruled the $300 million case can proceed, despite the singer’s denial she did anything wrong.
According to court documents obtained by The Blast, a New York federal judge came back with a decision, denying Miley’s motion to dismiss the case filed by Michael May (aka Flourgon) over her hit song, “We Can’t Stop.”
The judge ruled the Caribbean songwriter who sued Cyrus has shown enough to allow the lawsuit to move forward.
In the docs, the judge does note, “In sum, analysis of the relevant factors strongly indicates that Defendants’ use of the Phrase is a fair use. Factual questions remain, however, as to certain of the fair use factors, particularly the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the needs of Defendants’ transformative use, and the effect on the market, if any, for May’s work.”
Further, “The current record suggests several ways in which Defendants may well prevail on the merits, from a determination that the Phrase was not original to May or that May made only trivial changes to a pre-existing strict Patois version of the Phrase, to indisputable proof that Defendants did not copy from May’s song but instead adopted the Phrase from one of many other sources, to facts establishing fair use as a matter of law. Those determinations, however, must await summary judgment.”
The judge did decide May can only seek damages for three years prior to the complaint being filed, which was the only win for Cyrus in the decision.
As The Blast first reported, May claimed wrote a song titled “We Run Things” back in 1988. The song allegedly became a cultural hit and garnered significant sales and popularity both domestically and in the Caribbean region.
May said the song contained the lyric, “We run things. Things no run we,” while Cyrus’s song has the lyric, “We run things, things don’t run we.”
In the lawsuit, May claimed both songs have the same overarching and pervasive theme. He pointed out that both songs feature a theme of “defiant audaciousness in the realm of self-discovery and self-governance.”
The suit said at the time Cyrus released her song, she had reinvented herself as “edgy” and her new music had traces and hints of urban or Caribbean sound.
“Cyrus exchanged her trademark ‘good girl’ Disney profile for a gritty and hyper-sexualized image, quite often brazenly and defiantly invoking provocative and obscene statements, lyrics and dress and personal vocalizations to reflect the grittiness, aggression and sultriness associated with U.S. based hip-hop, R&B, urban and Caribbean music,” the lawsuit claims.
May pointed out the track has over 100 million views on VEVO and the music video has over 100 million views.
He sued for an injunction prohibiting Cyrus from continuing to sell the track and for unspecified damages. His lawyer clarified publicly, after filing the lawsuit, that his client is seeking $300,000,000 in damages.
Miley has denied all allegations and demanded the case be tossed.