Nearly two years after the Weeknd was sued for copyright infringement over his 2018 track “Call Out My Name,” the singer has reached a settlement before the lawsuit could go to trial.
Suniel Fox and Henry Strange, members of the electro duo Epikker, filed their lawsuit in Sept. 2021, allegedly that “Call Out My Name” — off the Weeknd’s 2018 EP My Dear Melancholy — plagiarized the vocal hook and lead guitar from their unreleased song “Vibeking.”
“’Vibeking’ and ‘Call Out My Name’ contain quantitatively and qualitatively similar material in their respective lead guitar and vocal hooks, including melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic elements distinctive to ‘Vibeking’,” the plaintiffs’ lawyers wrote at the time.
“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.”
Billboard reports that — in addition to the similar-sounding songs — Fox and Strange had physical evidence that proved the Weeknd had heard “Vibeking,” producing email correspondence between the duo and the Weeknd’s “playback engineer” that stated that the singer born Abel Tesfaye “listened and liked” their track.
“Call Out My Name” producers Frank Dukes and Nicolas Jaar were also named in the lawsuit, which ultimately has a settlement in agreement, according to a filing entered into a Los Angeles federal court Friday and obtained by Rolling Stone.
“The parties have reached a settlement in principle of this action,” the filing state. “Because the parties are still in the process of formalizing, executing, and consummating that settlement, Plaintiff respectfully requests that the Court take all dates off calendar and set a date in 30 days for the parties to file a
joint status report if the case has not already been dismissed.”
Terms of the agreement were not disclosed; Epikker’s lawsuit sought all of the song’s profits as well as legal fees.
The Weeknd was also recently named as one of the star-studded defendants in a class action lawsuit against the creators of the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs.