12:49pm PT by Ashley Cullins
Jessie J Knocks Down "Domino" Lawsuit on Appeal
The songwriters behind Jessie J's hit "Domino" didn't steal their melody from a Santa Barbara indie band, according to a 9th Circuit ruling published Friday.
The legal battle began in 2012, when Will Loomis sued Jessica Cornish, aka Jessie J, along with Universal Music Group. He claimed the singer's hit song "Domino" copied a two-measure vocal melody from his song “Bright Red Chords.”
In 2013, the district court granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment in its entirety, finding that Loomis didn't put forth sufficient admissible evidence to establish that Cornish and her songwriting team, including embattled producer Dr. Luke, had access to his song.
Now, nearly three years later, the 9th Circuit has upheld that decision.
Loomis had argued that multiple intermediaries could have passed his song on to the "Domino" songwriters. One theory involved his former guitarist Casey Hooper later working with Katy Perry, who worked with Dr. Luke. The panel didn't buy it.
"Nothing in the record shows the requisite nexus between Hooper and the 'Domino' songwriters except for Loomis’ own speculation," wrote Circuit Judge Richard Clifton.
The panel further found that, despite some attention from MTV, "Bright Red Chords" was never widely disseminated or commercially successful — noting that "Loomis was able to provide to the district court documentation of only 46 sales of the recording."
The panel found that Loomis' claims, had they been substantiated, might have survived summary judgment. "The problem is that it was not supported by potentially admissible evidence," wrote Clifton. "At bottom, the record consists primarily of Loomis’ speculations of access unsupported by personal knowledge. The other evidence did not fill the breach."
As access could not be proven, neither court reached the question of whether the two songs are substantially similar.
Defendants were represented by Jeffrey M. Movit, Christine Lepera and Elaine K. Kim of Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP. Loomis was represented by attorney Michael Gross.