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Sunday, July 14, 2024 | Back issues
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The Weeknd Boosted From Brits, Firm Says

LOS ANGELES (CN) - Rhythm & blues singer The Weeknd faces a copyright infringement lawsuit from an English company that claims he copied music from a British sci-fi thriller for his hit single "The Hills."

In the federal lawsuit Wednesday, Cutting Edge Music, of London, sued Abel Makkonen Tesfaye aka The Weeknd, claiming he "blatantly copied a unique and significant portion" of the track "Revolution" from the 2013 movie "The Machine."

Defendants include Universal Music Group, Warner Chappell Music and Sony/ATV Music Publishing. Music producers and The Weeknd's collaborators, Illangelo and Million Dollar Mano, also are named as defendants.

Cutting Edge, a film investor, says it owns an interest in film scores and sound recordings. It holds an exclusive license to exploit the score of the "The Machine," composed by Tom Raybould, who assigned rights to 3AM Music, which made a licensing deal with Cutting Edge, according to the complaint.

Raybould, who won a British Academy of Film and Television Arts award for his work on the film, received a message in March 2015 from "The Hills" music producer Million Dollar Mano, saying he had used the soundtrack music, Cutting Edge says.

"Mano sent Raybould a Twitter direct message stating 'I sampled your music might make it 2 the weeknd next album. Huge fan of what u did 4 the machine movie!,'" the complaint states.

Released on May 27 as the second single from The Weeknd's album, "The Hills" went to the top of the Billboard charts, registering 109,000 digital download its first week and 5.2 million streams in the United States.

Rappers Eminem and Lil Wayne have remixed "The Hills," and Nicki Minaj and The Weeknd performed the song on "Saturday Night Live."

"At this time, defendants continue to engage in infringing activities," the lawsuit states.

"The Hills" is the fifth track on The Weeknd's 2015 album "Beauty Behind the Madness," which was nominated for a Grammy this week.

The Canadian singer-songwriter is up for six other awards, with nominations for his songs "Can't Feel My Face" and "Earned It (50 Shades of Grey)."

Cutting Edge seeks an injunction and actual damages, profits, statutory damages and $150,000 for infringement.

"The Machine," starring Caity Lotz and Toby Stephens and budgeted at $1.5 million, was unveiled at the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2013.

Lotz is best known for her recurring role in "Mad Men" and starring role in the CW's "The Arrow." Stephens was the villain in the 2002 James Bond movie "Die Another Day."

Cutting Edge is represented by Thomas Brackey, with Freund & Brackey, of Beverly Hills.

A representative for The Weeknd did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

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