Bite My Style: Does the hook in Pitbull’s ‘Timber’ rip off a ’70s harmonicist?
Pitbull could be going down for yelling “Timber!”
The embattled pop star is currently enjoying a global smash hit with his 2013 collaboration with Kesha, but if you or your parents thought the harmonica part in the chart-topper sounded a bit familiar, you guys are not alone. Lee Oskar, renowned harmonicist and former member of the band War, is leading a trio of songwriters who filed a $3 million lawsuit last week against Pitbull’s record company, Sony.
The suit alleges that “Timber” steals from Oskar’s 1978 tune “San Francisco Bay.” You can listen to both tracks below and draw your own conclusions.
More from the New York Daily News:
In papers filed in Manhattan Federal Court, Lee Oskar, Keri Oskar and Greg Errico charge the rapper’s song borrows liberally from their 1978 tune “San Francisco Bay,” but his record company hasn’t been paying them for the “copyright infringement.”
Lee Oskar is a renowned harmonicist, the suit notes, and the Pitbull-Kesha collaboration makes “copious use” of “San Francisco Bay’s” melody and “original harmonica riff.”
The suit says the harmonica player on “Timber,” Paul Harrington, had been told to “emulate” Oskar’s “harmonica performance from ‘San Francisco Bay’ so that the harmonica lines in ‘Timber’ would have an identical texture and sound.”
The suit, which does not name Pitbull or Kesha as defendants, says that Sony “might have obtained a license” from a different license holder, but not the songwriters, according to the newspaper.
Oskar and company haven’t seen a dime from royalties, they claim, so they’re taking legal action.
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