Last week, the British newspaper, the Sun, reported rumors that Radiohead would be taking legal action against singer Lana Del Rey over her song “Get Free,” for its similarities to Radiohead’s 1993 smash hit “Creep”. Not long after this was reported, Del Rey tweeted “it’s true about the lawsuit,” as well as inserting that her song was not, in fact, inspired by “Creep.” The singer also stated that she had offered Radiohead up to 40% of the publishing rights, an offer which she claimed was refused by Radiohead, who she says “will only accept 100.”
In the past, Radiohead was notably sued for their song “Creep” by the Hollies, who alleged that the song sounded similar to their 1972 hit “The Air that I Breathe.” This case was settled out of court, and members of the Hollies were given songwriting credits and a small percentage of royalties.
Radiohead’s publishing company, Warner/Chappell also released a statement in response to Lana Del Rey’s tweet. While the company refuted her claims that there was a lawsuit at all, they admitted that they had been in talks with Lana Del Rey to receive songwriting credits for her song.
If this case does end up in court, it could be a landmark copyright case, due to the fact that Radiohead has been sued over “Creep” before. In recent years, we have seen many high profile cases, such as Robin Thicke and Pharrell vs. the estate of Marvin Gaye, over perceived similarities between “Blurred Lines” and Gaye’s “Got to Give it Up.”
This case could define how creative appropriation cases proceed in the future.