Miley Cyrus was sued for $300 million on Tuesday by Jamaican songwriter Michael May, who claims the singer’s 2013 hit “We Can’t Stop” infringes upon the a song he released in 1988 called “We Run Things,” according to Reuters.
Cyrus is one of several writers credited on the song, along with coproducers Mike Williams (a.k.a. Mike Will Made It), Pierre Slaughter (a.k.a. P-Nasty) and Theron and Timothy Thomas (a.k.a. Rock City), along with sampled or interpolated contributions from rappers Douglas Davis (a.k.a. Doug E. Fresh) and Ricky Walters (a.k.a. Slick Rick).
May, who performs as Flourgon, claims that about 50 percent of Cyrus’ hit comes from “We Run Things,” which was a No. 1 single in Jamaica. He accused Cyrus and Sony-owned RCA Records, her label, of misappropriating elements including the phrase “We run things. Things no run we,” which she sings as “We run things. Things don’t run we.” He added that Cyrus’ hit “owes the basis of its chart-topping popularity to and its highly-lucrative success to plaintiff May’s protected, unique, creative and original content.”
(Listen to both songs below.)
Reps for Cyrus and RCA did not immediately respond to Variety’s requests for comment.
May is also seeking a halt to further sales and performances of “We Can’t Stop,” according to his complaint filed with the U.S. District Court in Manhattan. No damages are specified in the complaint, but Reuters cites a press statement from his lawyers describing it as a $300 million case.
Ironically, “We Can’t Stop” peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 — it was kept out of the top spot by Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” which was itself the subject of a multi-million-dollar lawsuit won by Marvin Gaye’s estate, who claimed that the song infringed upon the legendary soul singer’s 1977 hit “Got to Give It Up.”
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