All good things come to an end, apparently. Though "Sorry," the island-inspired hit that helped usher in Justin Bieber's Purpose era, spent three weeks at #1 when it was released, it's now seen better days.
According to TMZ, Casey Dienel, a musician who goes by the stage name White Hinterland, is suing Bieber and Skrillex—who produced the track—over the song, claiming that it mimics "unique characteristics of the female vocal riff" from her 2014 song "Ring the Bell."
Though "Sorry" only appears to use eight seconds of that riff, Dienel says it is repeated six times. She has since released a statement on Facebook, in which she explains her attempt to reach out to Bieber regarding the infringement, an effort that ultimately resulted in her being ignored. Read what she had to say below:
As many of you that follow my career and work have already recognized, Justin Bieber's song "Sorry" copies the vocal riff prominently featured in my song "Ring the Bell." The writers, producers, and performers of "Sorry" did not obtain a license for this exploitation of my work, nor did they obtain or seek my permission. Yesterday afternoon, I filed a lawsuit for copyright infringement against Justin Bieber and the other responsible parties.
After this post, I intend to leave the subject matter of the lawsuit in the hands of my lawyers and the legal system. However, because I do not take the act of suing lightly, I want to take this opportunity to briefly explain my decision to those of you who are connected to me through family, friendship, and music.
Creating original and unique music is my life's passion, but it is challenging and time consuming. I poured my blood, sweat, and tears into writing and producing "Ring the Bell," and I am proud of the finished product, which Rolling Stone listed as one of its "favorite songs, albums, and videos." Throughout my career, I have worked very hard to preserve my independence and creative control, thus it came as a shock to hear my work used and exploited without permission.
Like most artists that sample music, Bieber could have licensed my song for use in "Sorry." But he chose not to contact me. After the release of "Sorry," my lawyers sent Bieber a letter regarding the infringement, but Bieber's team again chose to ignore me. I offered Bieber's team an opportunity to have a private dialogue about the infringement, but they refused to even acknowledge my claim, despite the obviousness of the sample. Justin Bieber is the world's biggest artist, and I'm sure that he and his team will launch a full attack against me. But, in the end, I was left with no other option. I believe I have an obligation to stand up for my music and art.
TMZ reports that Dienel is seeking monetary compensation. And we have to admit, Biebs, the two versions sound eerily similar.