Johnny Depp and Jeff Beck sue the professor who accused them of plagiarism | Music


Johnny Depp Jeff Beck is suing professor and folklorist Bruce Jackson over allegations that the duo’s song “Sad Motherfuckin’ Parade” on their collaborative album 18 impersonate a poem Written by an imprisoned man.

In August, Jackson accused Depp and Beck of taking lines from the poem he documented in his 1974 book, Get Your Ass in the Water and Swim Like Me. Different lines appear in both works: “I’m rough, I know, but I don’t have a bad smell / God bless the lady who’s going to buy me a drink” and “What this funky fucker really needs, kid, is a shower.”

The poem has no specific author but was narrated by Jackson, a Missouri state prison inmate named Slim Wilson. Neither Wilson nor Jackson have been named as co-authors of the track.

In the wake of Jackson’s allegations, a spokesperson for the duo said they would review the claims and add additional copyright credits “if appropriate.”

But Rolling Stone Reports That the couple have now sued Jackson for unspecified damages, legal fees and a declaration of non-copyright infringement. The lawsuit they filed claims that Jackson “does not own the copyright to the lyrics” of the poem, only to his own recordings or texts, which the pair claim they did not infringe.

Jackson told Rolling Stone, “They didn’t write the sad Motherfuken Parade and they are suing the person who stole it from him and who caught them doing it. From my point of view, this is like a thief suing a homeowner for cutting his hand on the kitchen window he broke into.”

Artwork for 18.
Artwork for 18

The lawsuit alleges that Jackson sent letters to Depp and Beck in August claiming that “nearly every single word” of the song “was copied from Hobo Ben, including the title.” He also allegedly suggested that “reflection, tone and tempo” mirrored the recording he made of Slim Wilson performing toasts in the 1960s, and that Depp and Beck sampled his recording to “create parts of the soundtrack”.

The lawsuit says Sad Motherfuckin’ Parade is an “original work of composition and creativity,” but acknowledges that “there may be some elements” to the song that “reflect the lyrics” of Hobo Ben.

Jackson’s lawyers, Rachel and Michael Jackson – and also his children – described the lawsuit as “a bald attempt to distract the public from their repeated attempts to claim the composition of a song they did not write”.

They accused Depp and Beck of hypocrisy for claiming there was no way to copyright Toast while also claiming that the authors of Sad Motherfuckin’ Parade on album 18.

Their statement continued, “It is important to understand that Depp and Beck did not deny that the lyrics and nuances of the singing performed at Sad Motherfuckin’ Parade were transcribed by Depp and Beck, which they dedicated and preferred to themselves. When this story first broke, he released Depp and Beck issued a statement to Rolling Stone saying that “if appropriate, additional credits will be added to all album formats. Why did they abandon that promise?”

Depp and Beck’s lawsuit called Jackson’s allegations “old-fashioned extortion.” Jackson’s statement called their claim a “publicity stunt” and clarified that he made no “formal financial demands” from the couple, but said “settlement funds will be donated directly to organizations that advance his lifelong commitment to preserving African American culture and traditions.”

Depp and Beck 18’s album received a mostly negative response from critics. In a two-star review, Michael Hahn of The Guardian described it as “It’s a strange and wildly different recordIn another two-star review, The Independent’s Mark Beaumont said, “It’s hard to find any coherent purpose for it, beyond the ease in backdoor Hollywood.”


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