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Happy families are all alike. Then there are the ones where family members start suing each each other.
See music producer Teddy Riley, who has worked with such musicians as Michael Jackson, Usher and Snoop Dogg. Last week, in California federal court, Riley filed a lawsuit concerning a song that he says he developed with Lady Gaga.
Riley is now suing his own daughter, Taja Riley, for claiming a songwriting credit and partial ownership of a song that she allegedly had nothing to do with.
According to the complaint, in September 2009, Lady Gaga (real name: Stefani Germanotta) shared with him her concept for a composition that was originally titled, “Show Me Your Teeth,” which ultimately made it onto her Monster album as the song “Teeth.” The music was written by Teddy Riley and lyrics came from Lady Gaga.
Riley says his daughter was “desirous of starting her own career in the music and entertainment business” and aware that her older sister Deja Riley had been “granted a gift of songwriting credit” by their father.
Taja Riley allegedly wanted the same thing.
The lawsuit states that “after completion of the [“Teeth”] song, and its selection for inclusion as a track on Lady Gaga’s album, he and Taja had a discussion about whether he would be willing to similarly gift a songwriting credit to Taja Riley to assist her in starting her musical and entertainment career as well.”
The famed producer implies that he never came to such an understanding with his daughter.
Afterwards, Taja Riley is said to have signed a deal with EMI Music Publishing and EMI Virgin Music and claimed co-writing credit and a 25 percent interest in “Teeth.”
The father says “the representations made by Taja Riley as to participation in the creation of the composition, authorship, and ownership are all false and untrue and that Defendant Taja Riley did not participate in any way in the creation of the composition, and did not own any rights whatsoever to The Song.”
He also blames EMI, whose publishing division was just sold to a consortium that includes Sony/ATV, for not contacting him to ascertain the truth.
So he’s now suing his daughter, EMI and Sony/ATV for copyright infringement, fraudulent copyright registration, unfair competition and accounting. He wants an enhanced award of statutory damages for willful infringement and an injunction.
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @eriqgardner
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