Tom Petty to Receive Royalties for Sam Smith’s Song ‘Stay With Me’

It was announced in a USA Today article and on NBC Nightly News today (January 26) that Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne, who wrote the 1989 hit ‘Won’t Back Down,’ would be sharing songwriting royalties with Sam Smith for the song ‘Stay With Me,’ which sounds to many listeners eerily similar to ‘Won’t Back Down.’

Although Smith and co-writers of ‘Stay With Me’ William Phillips and James Napier claim the similarity between the songs is a total coincidence, they did agree to sharing songwriting royalties with Petty and Lynne. In fact, the two are now listed as co-writers of ‘Stay With Me.’

Although news of the settlement just recently broke, The Sun, a British newspaper, said that all involved came to a settlement in October of last year. The Grammy Awards are scheduled for February 8th, with Smith’s song being nominated for song of the year, perhaps the reason the copyright news has been in the spotlight recently. Petty and Lynne will reportedly split 25% of the royalties earned on the song.

According to Smith’s representative, he did notice a likeness between ‘Stay With Me’ and ‘Won’t Back Down’ when he heard Petty’s song, but said that he was not familiar with it. Professional musicologist Michael Harrington who specializes in legal matters regarding federal copyright said that the similarity between the two songs was solid, particularly when it came to the chorus in ‘Stay With Me.’ Also, an article at claim that there are many similarities, from the rhythms and chords to the pitches and even some phrasing in the two songs.

Smith’s representatives made a statement on the singer’s behalf, part of which read, “Although the likeness was a complete coincidence, all involved came to an immediate and amicable agreement in which Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne are now credited as co-writers of ‘Stay With Me’ along with Sam Smith, James Napier, and William Phillips.”

As experienced Los Angeles copyright attorneys we realize that copyright infringement is becoming a bigger issue today given the continuous growth of the Internet and other technological advances. While this situation seems to have been settled amicably, many songwriters and other artists/creators face legal issues every day regarding infringement on or theft of their original works. If you have a copyright or trademark issue, consult with the capable staff at Spotora & Associates.






This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 27th, 2015 at 5:25 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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