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NEW ORLEANS — A federal judge has dismissed a Louisiana musician’s copyright infringement lawsuit against Kid Rock, ruling Troy Landry didn’t prove that the rapper’s “Somebody’s Gotta Feel This” was a rip off of his own music.
“The works are not so strikingly or substantially similar as to preclude independent creation,” U.S. District Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon wrote in her ruling this week. Lemmon cited expert testimony from both sides, plus her side-by-side review of the songs from which she concluded “a layman would not view the works as substantially similar.”
An attorney for Landry didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment Thursday.
Landry sued Atlantic Recording Corp., Kid Rock (whose real name is Robert Ritchie) and others in 2004, claiming an 8-second portion of Kid Rock’s “Somebody’s Gotta Feel This,” featured in a beer commercial, was “strikingly or substantially similar” to songs Landry released on a 1994 record.
Landry, identified in court records as a musician with a New Orleans band, claimed the 8-second hook was repeated throughout the song and made up 45% of it.
But the defendants had no access to Landry’s songs and the riff couldn’t be protected under copyright laws because “it is common and in the public domain,” defense lawyers argued.
Michael Novak, personal attorney for Kid Rock, said Thursday the 36-year-old rapper’s song featured a “fairly common progression” and that defense attorneys had found “dozens of songs” with similar progressions. He likened suing over the riff to suing over the idea of a talent competition.
“Whenever you have a hit record, you can pretty much plan on attracting this kind of lawsuit,” he said.
He said attorneys would seek costs from the plaintiffs, though he couldn’t provide a figure.
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