The Weeknd, Nicolás Jaar, and Frank Dukes have been sued by producers Suniel Fox and Henry Strange for copyright infringement, Pitchfork can confirm. The complaint was filed September 17 in a California federal court, and alleges that the Weeknd’s 2018 My Dear Melancholy, track “Call Out My Name” is “strikingly and/or substantially similar, if not identical” to Fox and Strange’s 2015 track “Vibeking.” The suit points out a number of compositional similarities between the songs. “Both works are in a minor key,” it reads. “Both works are in a 6/8 meter that is less common in popular music. Both works are played at a similar tempo. And both works use features of electronica, ambience, pop, hip-hop, rock, and R&B to achieve a particular atmospheric and melancholic sound.” Find the full complaint below.
Elsewhere in the suit, Fox and Strange allege that the Weeknd’s song uses the same scale degrees as “Vibeking,” specifically in the melody of the hook. The complaint also states that the Weeknd and his co-writers created the song “without a license, authorization, or consent from Plaintiffs.” The suit also includes musical charts comparing the notation between the two songs.
When reached by Pitchfork, Stephen M. Doniger, an attorney for Fox and Strange, stated:
The Weeknd is no stranger to accusations of infringement, and this one is probably the most egregious claim against him and his team to date. Epikker (Suniel and Henry) works with many artists in the industry, and was profoundly disappointed to discover the liberal copying of “Vibeking,” an original Epikker song that was shared with the Weeknd years ago in good faith, in “Call Out My Name.” We look forward to bringing these facts to light and securing reasonable compensation and credit for Epikker.
Pitchfork has also reached out to representatives for the Weeknd for further comment and information. Jaar tweeted the following clarification: