A New York judge has tossed out a lawsuit against U2 and Universal Music Group, alleging the band copied parts of a relatively unknown song to create a guitar solo on their 1991 Achtung Baby single "The Fly."
The suit was brought by English musician Paul Rose last year, claiming copyright infringement on his 1989 experimental instrumental song "Nae Slappin" after he sent a demo tape to UMG's Island Records. He alleged infringing similarities between a 13-second segment of "Nae Slappin" and a 12-second segment of "The Fly," specifically noting the guitar line, the use of tambourine and the drum, percussion and bass lines. As well, he also claimed similarities in a later chord change from E7 to A7 and the "dimension of sound" in the two works.
Regarding each of these alleged similarities, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote broke down reasoning one-by-one for why "The Fly" was not an infringing work, spending the most time on the guitar lines.