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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Shaad D'Souza

The Weeknd reaches settlement over Call Out My Name copyright case

The Weeknd performs in Inglewood, California, last year.
The Weeknd performs in Inglewood, California, last year. Photograph: Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

The Weeknd has reached a settlement with Suniel Fox and Henry Strange, two musicians who sued the Canadian pop star, real name Abel Tesfaye, in 2021 claiming that his 2018 hit Call Out My Name had copied one of their songs. As the BBC reports, Fox and Strange’s lawyers filed in Los Angeles federal court on Friday, requesting the case be dismissed and stating that the two musicians had reached a settlement with Tesfaye and his team, and were “still in the process of formalising, executing, and consummating” the deal.

At the time of the lawsuit’s initial filing, Fox and Strange – who perform together as Epikker – claimed that the “lead guitar and vocal hooks” of Call Out My Name bore similarity to their song Vibeking. Although Tesfaye denied the claims, the duo also claimed they had evidence that the singer had previously been aware of the track. The BBC reported that Fox and Strange had sent Vibeking to Eric White, one of Tesfaye’s collaborators, in 2015; later, White had allegedly replied saying that Tesfaye thought the song was “fire”.

Fox and Strange allege that White later told them that Tesfaye had “listened and liked” Vibeking, but hadn’t done anything with the track; he supposedly then emailed them again saying that he was going to tell Tesfaye that his team had written the track, rather than Fox and Strange. “Just don’t wanna say ‘hey, [Strange] wrote this’ when he doesn’t know u,” part of the email allegedly read. Fox and Strange say they were never credited or asked for permission to use portions of their original song. Tesfaye has denied that Call Out My Name infringes on the copyright of Fox and Strange, but has never responded to their claims in detail.

Call Out My Name is one of Tesfaye’s most successful songs, having peaked at No 7 on the UK singles chart and No 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It has been certified platinum in the UK and triple platinum in the US.

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