#RadioheadIsOver was one of the trending hashtags on Twitter this week. Why, you ask? Not because the band was popular years ago, or because it’s been years since they put out a hit song, but because there were rumors that they were suing Lana Del Rey for copyright infringement. We’ve seen many copyright suits in the music industry lately, and the songs at issue this time are Radiohead’s 1992 hit “Creep” and Del Rey’s 2017 song “Get Free.” As is often the case with these claims, the two songs are clearly similar, but is it enough for a copyright infringement claim?
On January 7, 2018, Lana Del Rey sent out a tweet to her followers claiming that Radiohead was suing her for 100% of the publishing for “Get Free.” She also claimed that, though she offered up to 40%, the band’s lawyer had been “relentless” so they would be heading to court. This tweet appeared to call her fans to arms, as they quickly came up with the above hashtag to discuss their feelings on the suit. Many seemed to feel that Radiohead was no longer relevant, and therefore shouldn’t be bringing suit against a current artist. They even went as far as posting negative and inflammatory comments on Radiohead’s social media accounts. Many were offensive both to the band and fans.
Naturally, this triggered responses from Radiohead fans, who used the band’s successful history to defend them. Radiohead’s music publisher then broke the band’s silence to announce that while talks had been happening, the band had never asked for 100% of publishing but instead merely wanted credit for the song due to their similarities. Nor, they said, had a lawsuit been filed. Not surprisingly, Radiohead has not mentioned the apparent irony of this dispute. Previously, it was Radiohead being sued for infringing the very same song. The chord progressions in “Creep” were similar to those heard in the Hollies’ song “The Air That I Breathe,” with the band relenting to credit the writers of that song.
So do they really have any legal ground to stand on in defending their rights now? Will Lana Del Rey give credit to Radiohead for her song? Will it be pulled from her album, as she hinted to fans at a recent concert? Will Radiohead file suit, turning this into another “Blurred Lines” case for the public to watch unfold? We will keep you updated, but in the meantime, we are sure you’ll have “Creep” in your head for the rest of the day. There’s a reason you hear that melody in all these songs – those haunting chords are incredibly catchy!