Bruno Mars Sued Over Uptown Funk
Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson are being sued for alleged copyright infringement.
Minneapolis-based funk group Collage has filed a complaint in which it is claimed that Ronson and Mars’ 2014 song “Uptown Funk” is derivative of its 1983 hit “Young Girls,” and copies their original song’s structure, melody, harmony and rhythm.
Collage has only one surviving member, Larry White, though the estates of two deceased members, Grady Wilkins and Lee Peters, are also listed as defendants.
“Uptown Funk” remains Mars’ biggest hit, and has sold more than 6.1 million copies. It was also number one on the Billboard chart for the second-longest period since records began.
Estimates suggest the song earns about $100,000 from streaming rights on Spotify every week.
The text of the lawsuit, obtained by the music website Pitchfork, notes that Ronson and Mars have talked about how “Uptown Funk” was influenced by early 1980s Minneapolis electro-funk soul music, of which the late “Kiss” hitmaker Prince was also a pioneer.
Collage are seeking damages and profits.
The complaint itself states in part: “Upon information and belief, many of the main instrumental attributes and themes of Uptown Funk are deliberately and clearly copied from Young Girls, including, but not limited to, the distinct funky specifically noted and timed consistent guitar riffs present throughout the compositions, virtually if not identical bass notes and sequence, rhythm, structure, crescendo of horns and synthesizers rendering the compositions almost indistinguishable if played over each other and strikingly similar if played in consecutively (sic).”
Sony Music Entertainment, Warner/Chappell Music, Atlantic Records, RCA Records, Trinidad James, Jeff Bhasker, Devon Gallaspy and Phillip Lawrence and others are also listed alongside Mars and Ronson in the lawsuit.
Earlier this year, another group called The Sequence also claimed that “Uptown Funk” infringed on an original song of theirs, though they did not bring a lawsuit.