The Weeknd reportedly settles ‘Call Out My Name’ copyright case

The Weeknd has reportedly reached a settlement with two musicians who accused the star of stealing parts of one of their songs to make his 2018 hit ‘Call Out My Name’.

The Weeknd

Suniel Fox and Henry Strange alleged that the Weeknd, whose real name is Abel Tesfaye, copied elements of their song ‘Vibeking’.

The Weeknd denied the claims, and the terms of the settlement have not been released.

In a filing at Los Angeles federal court on Friday, Fox and Strange’s lawyers said: “The parties are still in the process of formalising, executing, and consummating” the deal.

Fox and Strange perform as the electro-house duo Epikker, and pointed out several similarities that they heard between the two songs when a case was filed in 2021.

According to the original filing, both tracks contained similar “lead guitar and vocal hooks… Both works are in a 6/8 meter that is less common in popular music. Both works are played at a similar tempo. And both works use features of electronica, ambience, pop, hip-hop, rock, and R&B to achieve a particularly atmospheric and melancholic sound.”

The Weeknd’s ‘Call Out My Name’ reached the top 10 in both the UK and the US. 

Fox and Strange claimed to have evidence that The Weeknd heard their song prior to writing ‘Call Out My Name’, as they said they sent it to the star’s DJ and playback engineer Eric White in 2015. They then cited an alleged email where White recorded The Weeknd describing ‘Vibeking’ as “fire”.

The Weeknd

The pair also say that a year later, White emailed Strange again, writing: “I sent [The Weeknd] that track u made a while ago. He listened and liked it. But nothing ever happened.”

White is then said to have followed up again, saying: “Just gonna tell [The Weeknd] that our production team wrote the track. Cool? Or u have another idea? Just don’t wanna say ‘hey, [Strange] wrote this’ when he doesn’t know u.”

Strange responded he met The Weeknd “on [the] Drake tour” and that he “knows him”.

Fox and Stange say they were never asked for permission to use, license or sample their song. Their lawsuit asked the court for a share of both past and future royalties on the track, as well as to cover their legal fees.

As well as The Weeknd, the lawsuit named co-writers Adam Feeney and Nicolas Jaar, producer Frank Dukes, Universal Music and Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube.

In notifying the court of the settlement, lawyers for Fox and Strange asked for all hearings to be cancelled and the case to be dismissed.

Last year, Ed Sheeran took a copyright case to trial and won. He did, however, describe the saga as “deeply traumatising”.

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