​Complaining Work

​Defending Work

Mark Halper

“Don’t Throw Our Love Away”

Audio Recording

Sam Smith, et al.

“Stay With Me”

Audio Recording


Comment by Charles Cronin

This regrettable, and ultimately doomed, case against Sam Smith — now one of the more attractive targets of music infringement claims — is arguably a consequence of Smith’s having agreed to a financial settlement of a similarly flimsy claim lodged against him by has-been rocker Tom Petty some years earlier.

Copyright complaints filed by pro se plaintiffs are typically simultaneously unintentionally amusing and a bit sad, and this one is both. In support of his amended complaint (below) the Plaintiff has attached a copy of a note from his 92-year-old mother, which accompanied a newspaper clipping about the Petty/Smith settlement. She says she was “shocked” by the similarity between her son’s song and Smith’s (the same work Petty complained about) — i.e. that both incorporate the phrases “stay with me,” and the grammatically abominable, but unfortunately commonplace, “lay with me.” (Query whether Smith didn’t use this construction deliberately to calibrate the appeal of his song to the vast proletariat.)




Complaint: PDF

M.D. Tenn. Opinion: PDF

6th Circuit Opinion: PDF