Singer Sues Drake and Chris Brown for Copyright Infringement

On October 5, 2021, Brandon Cooper, and his producer, Timothy Valentine, filed a copyright infringement suit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida against Drake, Chris Brown, and seven other songwriters credited on Drake and Brown’s track “No Guidance.” “No Guidance” is an R&B Grammy-nominated song that landed at number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in June 2019. In May 2019, Cooper alleges a representative (“Mic Tee”) from Drake’s label, Cash Money Records, reached out to Cooper inquiring about unreleased tracks and invited him to Toronto. The complaint does not allege whether or not Cooper actually went to Toronto, but Cooper alleges that he did not send any of his unreleased music. Cooper did, however, send an email to  Mic Tee with a link to three released tracks, including Cooper’s song, “I Love Your Dress.”

In June 2019, Drake and Brown released “No Guidance,” and Cooper noticed substantial similarities between the track and Cooper’s song, “I Love Your Dress,” which Cooper performed at a concert in August 2018, and self-released on his album in January 2019. The concert performance is available to view on YouTube, and Cooper’s self-released album is available on the major streaming services, such as Spotify and Apple Music; however, it is not alleged how many views the YouTube video had or how many streams Cooper’s album obtained, but the implication is that since Drake’s label had expressed interest in Cooper, the label, or Drake, or Chris Brown, or all of them, availed themselves of the opportunity to listen, view, or both.

Cooper further alleged in his complaint that multiple music experts have compared the two songs and found a “high degree of similarities.” The biggest similarity is the repeated line, “You got it, girl, you got it.” This “hook” appears 16 times in “I Love Your Dress,” and 11 times in “No Guidance.”  Cooper claims that this line encompasses the “essence of the song,” which is about “an attractive woman working hard.” Music experts also claim there are similarities in some of the musical effects used, making the tracks sound very familiar at times. But the music experts did not allege that the songs sounded similar overall.

The complaint also alleges that one line in “No Guidance,” directly references and mocks Cooper. Drake and Brown say “Flew the coop at 17, no guidance,” which Cooper claims is a subtle reference to him.

Cooper and Valentine are seeking 50% of the direct and indirect royalties earned from “No Guidance,” claiming that Defendants knowingly and intentionally infringed upon Plaintiffs’ rights. Cooper and Valentine are further asking to be formally recognized as the co-authors of the song, “No Guidance.”

Cooper and Valentine are represented by Neil B. Solomon, Chester R. Ostrowski, and Jason S. Giaimo of McLaughlin & Stern LLP.

Counsel information for the defendants was not yet available.

The case is Cooper et al. v. Chris Brown Entertainment LLC et al., case number 9:21-cv-81870, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

Read more at:* Lowe & Associates (“The Firm”) is an entertainment and business law firm located in Beverly Hills, California. The Firm has extensive experience handling cases involving entertainment law, providing top-quality legal services to its clients since 1991. The Firm is recognized for its many achievements, including successfully litigating many high-profile cases.

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