H.E.R. is flying high after the Super Bowl with a performance of America the Beautiful that can’t be described as anything less than stunning, but not quite everyone is thrilled with her these days. She’s currently being sued by songwriter and piano maestro Andre Sims along with music producer Darhyl “DJ” Camper and Justin Love who both worked on her third single Focus from her first album H.E.R. for copyright infringement.
Sims is claiming he watched Camper go on social media, play his song Endless Minds and say he used it for inspiration for Focus. In the lawsuit, Sims says “I am truly happy for H.E.R.’s success, but after months of trying to get the rights back to my song, neither she, nor DJ Camper or Justin Love have even apologized or tried to make this right. For decades, we as African-Americans and artists in general have had our music and copyrights stolen. We should never do this to each other. The damage is immeasurable and I will never get my due personally and financially, if they do not come clean and own up.”
— theJasmineBRAND (@thejasminebrand) February 9, 2021
“I just can’t believe she’s out her performing on TV, thanks to the benefit my original song brought to her first project -as if they didn’t use my song to get her there. So when I see her on tv singing about love and peace, it is amazing as you are a part of a team that unlovingly stole my music…unapologetically so…”.
Sims’ attorney James L. Walker, Jr. added “whether H.E.R. or Love stole the music or went in the studio and wrote the Focus lyrics to the music, it is clear H.E.R. and her album benefitted from a musical bed and copyright that was not hers.”
He continued “If you buy stolen property innocently, most of us return it when we learn of its true origination and apologize for benefiting from it. Here, H.E.R. and co-writer Love have refused to do that with Mr. Sims, while making millions of dollars in publishing, royalties and touring off the success of the Focus song. Whether you stole it or not, you benefited and you must make it right or we will help you make it right in a court of law.”
“Or we will help you make it right” sounds like some pretty convincing mob language there. I’ve got to write that one down to use personally in the future.
Walker formulated a legal team for Sims including Stephen M. Katz and Renorda E. Pryor with Pryor stating “It is most unfortunate when a talented artist like H.E.R. acts as if she and her production team did not rip this young man’s entire music and copyright,” said Pryor. “No matter where your career takes you, if you do not fix this, you will always have an asterisk next to your name like Tom Brady for dishonesty.” Pryor added, “We will now push ahead with discovery and depositions and the truth will all come out.”
Sims says none of the writers have responded to his inquiry about the $3 million the song has made and still makes, saying “We all loved H.E.R.’s rendition of America the Beautiful and the Super Bowl accolades, but I need these three people (Love, Camper and H.E.R.) to focus on the damage here and that I am still an artist-songwriter whose song was stolen and blew them all up”
Sims added “I had hoped to avoid court and a heated public outcry, but after months of trying to get them to do the right thing, they left me with no other alternative and my fans want me to fight back for what is rightfully mine in this copyright to the song.”
As a response to an impasse due to a lack of communication, Sims is suing for copyright infringement, injunctive relief, and an accounting of all monies made and is requesting the court create a constructive trust to hold royalties.
“We have asked the songwriters, their managers, lawyers and Sony to turn over all income associated with the song for several months now and they have refused to cooperate in any meaningful way,” said Attorney Walker, Jr.
Compare the Sims’ song with H.E.R.’s below and tell us what you think: