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Justin Timberlake, Facing Copyright Suit Over ‘Damn Girl’

The heir of a Grammy-winning disco artist claims Timberlake's hit "Damn Girl" copied its hook, rhythm, harmony and melody from a 1969 song.

Justin Timberlake may need to break out his suit and tie for a court appearance.

He’s facing a copyright suit over his hit “Damn Girl” from the sister of disco artist Perry Kibble that claims the hook, rhythm, harmony and melody in Timberlake’s hit were copied from Kibble’s song “A New Day is Here At Last.”

This is the latest in a string of musicians’ heirs suing contemporary artists for copyright infringement. Last year Marvin Gaye’s family prevailed in a lawsuit against Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke over “Blurred Lines”, and Jay Z and Timbaland beat a suit over “Big Pimpin’ ” brought by the heir of an Egyptian composer.

Music publisher PK Music Performance, Inc. sued Timberlake Wednesday, seeking damages and an injunction to stop defendants from reproducing, distributing and publicly performing “Damn Girl.”

Will Adams, better known as, Sony Music Entertainment and several other music publishers and distributors are also listed as defendants.

According to the suit filed in U.S. District Court by Steven M. Lester of La Reddola, Lester & Associates LLP, Kibble was best known as part of the funk band A Taste of Honey, which won the 1978 Grammy Award for Best New Artist.

“A New Day is Here At Last” was released by J.C. Davis in 1969, the same year Kibble registered his copyright in the musical composition, according to the complaint.

When Kibble died in 1999 his ownership of the copyright in the song transferred to his sister Janis McQuinton, and in early December 2015 McQuinton assigned her ownership to her corporation PK Music Performance.

Later that month PK Music published “A New Day Is Here At Last,” and in January the company registered a renewal copyright to the work.

In the suit McQuinton claims the music in “Damn Girl” is strikingly similar to “A New Day is Here at Last.”

“Specifically, a substantial part of the drum, conga drum, organ, bass guitar, electric guitar, and saxophone parts in Damn Girl, were all copied from A New Day Is Here At Last,” Lester wrote. 

McQuinton discovered “that the music in Damn Girl was copied from A New Day Is Here At Last” in August 2015, according to the complaint, and is seeking statutory and actual damages for not only the sound recording but also a DVD containing the hit and live performances from Timberlake’s FutureSex/LoveShow concert tour.

This article was first published by The Hollywood Reporter.