Justin Bieber

Could Justin Bieber and Usher be facing a similar fate as to what Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams encountered with "Blurred Lines"?

In a unanimous vote yesterday (3-0), a Richmond, Virginia appeals panel overturned a lower court's ruling that a suit filed against Bieber, Usher and others by songwriters Devin Copeland and Mareio Overton was without merit. They claimed that Usher initially got their song "Somebody to Love" in 2008 from a music scout and then took it to Bieber, who changed it from straight R&B to dance pop but retained a number of key elements of their original. Bieber's "Somebody to Love" reached number 15 on the Billboard Hot 100.

While the lower court decided that "no reasonable jury could find copyright infringement," the appeals court took an opposite view, stating in its ruling that "their choruses are similar enough and also significant enough that a reasonable jury could find the songs intrinsically similar." It also pointed out that there are similarities in beats, time signatures, chords and lyrics. They go as far as stating that the title phrase had an "almost identical" rhythm and a "strikingly similar" melody.

The lawyers for both sides did not comment afterwards. The case has been returned to the original judge for additional hearings. 

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