R&B star The Weeknd has been served with a copyright infringement lawsuit over his hit song The Hills.
Bosses at British film music publishing company Cutting Edge Music Limited filed documents in California federal court on Wednesday (09Dec15), claiming the singer and his producers knowingly used the sample of a track from their film The Machine.
The plaintiffs' lawyer, who identifies their firm as a company which "finances films and acquires interest in film score compositions and sound recordings", released the obscure movie featuring a score by composer Tom Raybould in 2013, and in court documents obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, the executives claim Emmanuel 'Mano' Nickerson, a prominent producer who worked on The Hills, informed Raybould earlier this year (15) of his plans to sample his film score for the R&B song.
The lawsuit states, "Defendant Mano sent a Twitter direct message stating 'I sampled your music might make it 2 the weeknd next album. Huge fan of what u did 4 the machine movie!'"
The plaintiff cites alleged substantial similarity between The Hills and Raybould's composition, adding, "Both the Infringing Song and the Track feature synthesizer bass-lines performed with almost identical idiosyncratic sounds at the same register and using the same pitch sequence, melodic phase structure and rhythmic durations."
In addition to The Weeknd and his producers, record labels Universal, Warner Chappell, Sony/ATV and others are named in the lawsuit.
The plaintiffs are claiming unjust enrichment in addition to copyright infringement and are seeking an unspecified amount of damages and a permanent injunction.
The Hills is the chart-topping second single from The Weeknd's acclaimed 2015 album Beauty Behind the Madness.