Jessie J Knocks Down “Domino” Lawsuit on Appeal
There are no “Bright Red Chords” copied in “Domino.”
The songwriters behind Jessie J’s hit “Domino” didn’t steal their melody from a Santa Barbara indie band, according to a 9th Circuit ruling published Friday.
The legal battle began in 2012 when Will Loomis sued Jessica Cornish, known as Jessie J, along with Universal Music Group. He claimed the singer’s hit song “Domino” copied a two-measure vocal melody from his song “Bright Red Chords.”
In 2013, the district court granted the defendants’ motion for summary judgment in its entirety, finding that Loomis didn’t put forth sufficient admissible evidence to establish that Jessie and her songwriting team, including embattled producer Dr. Luke, had access to his song.
Now, nearly three years later, the 9th Circuit has upheld that decision.
Loomis had argued that multiple intermediaries could have passed his song on to the “Domino” songwriters. One theory involved his former guitarist Casey Hooper later working with Katy Perry who worked with Dr. Luke. The panel didn’t buy it.
“Nothing in the record shows the requisite nexus between Hooper and the Domino songwriters except for Loomis’s own speculation,” writes Circuit Judge Richard Clifton.
The panel further found that, despite some attention from MTV, “Bright Red Chords” was never widely disseminated or commercially successful — noting that “Loomis was able to provide to the district court documentation of only 46 sales of the recording.”
The panel found that Loomis’ claims, had they been substantiated, might have survived summary judgment. “The problem is that it was not supported by potentially admissible evidence,” writes Clifton. “At bottom, the record consists primarily of Loomis’s speculations of access unsupported by personal knowledge. The other evidence did not fill the breach.”
As access could not be proven, neither court reached the question of whether the two songs are substantially similar.
Defendants were represented by Jeffrey M. Movit, Christine Lepera and Elaine K. Kim, of Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP. Loomis was represented by attorney Michael Gross.
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