Did John Legend Steal a Song? You Decide

Crooner is accused of plagiarizing another artist's tune for his 2006 track "Maxine's Interlude"

By Josh Grossberg Jul 08, 2011 6:15 PMTags
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When John Legend wrote Get Lifted, we wonder if he was referring to this guy.

The R&B smoothie is on the receiving end of a lawsuit filed by a fellow artist who alleges Legend swiped his work and used it as the basis of his 2006 track "Maxine's Interlude."

So what gives?

According to the copyright-infringement suit filed on Tuesday in the U.S. District Court of New Jersey-Newark, songwriter Anthony Stokes claims he gave the soul singer a demo tape of his song "Where Are You Now?" back in 2004 after meeting him following a concert at the University of North Carolina. After purportedly promising to give it a listen, Legend never got back to him.

Two years later, however, Stokes claims he was taken aback upon listening to "Maxine's Interlude," off his 2006 album Once Again, as the melodies and even lyrics sounded all too similar to his original composition. Now he wants unspecified damages for violating his copyright.

A rep for Legend was unavailable for comment. Sony Music Entertainment and Columbia Records were also named in the suit and have yet to issue a comment.

"My client was a college student at UNC and attended the school homecoming concert  by John Legend. There was a meet and greet afterwards and my client, being a fan and aspiring songwriter himself, presented Mr. Legend with a demo of his original...copyrighted work," Stokes' attorney, Louis D. Tambaro, tells E! News.

"He heard nothing," continued the legal eagle. "Fast-forward two years and Mr. Legend released an album with a song sounding eerily similar that was featured fairly heavily in concert performances in 2008, which is another aspect of our damages [request]. From our respective position the case will hinge on Mr. Legend's access to my client's work and...the similarity between the works that will require scientific analysis and expert opinion."

For some unscientific analysis and amateur opinion, check out the songs below.

John Legend's "Maxine's Interlude"

Anthony Stokes' "Where Are You Now?"

What do you think? Did the Grammy winner pilfer this guy's song?

—Additional reporting by Claudia Rosenbaum

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