The Weeknd, Nicolas Jaar, & Frank Dukes Sued For Allegedly Ripping Off “Call Out My Name”
As Law 360 points out, Fox and Strange have filed a copyright lawsuit in Los Angeles federal court against Abel Tesfaye as well as Nicolas Jaar and Frank Dukes, his collaborators on “Call Out My Name” from 2018’s mini-album My Dear Melancholy. Universal Music Group and other parts of the corporate structure behind the Weeknd are also named in the suit.
The duo says “Call Out My Name” lifted elements from their 2015 track “Vibeking,” writing in their suit that the songs “contain quantitatively and qualitatively similar material in their respective lead guitar and vocal hooks, including melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic elements distinctive to ‘Vibeking.'” The suit alleges these specific similarities:
Both works are in a minor key. Both works are in a 6/8 meter that is less common in popular music. Both works are played at a similar tempo. And both works use features of electronica, ambience, pop, hip-hop, rock, and R&B to achieve a particular atmospheric and melancholic sound.
Furthermore, Fox and Strange say they have records of correspondence with the Weeknd’s camp that supports their case. They say they emailed the song to Eric White — the Weeknd’s DJ and playback engineer, aka PNDA — who later told them Tesfaye described their track as “fire.” White allegedly also wrote back implying that he wasn’t going to credit Fox and Strange for their work: “Just gonna tell [The Weeknd] that our production team wrote the track. Cool? Or u have another idea? Just don’t wanna say ‘hey, [Strange] wrote this’ when he doesn’t know u.” In his response, Strange wrote, “[The Weeknd] knows me. Say both. [Strange] with Ponytail you met on Drake tour. Who is part of our production team.”
“Call Out My Name” peaked at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100, and its video has been viewed more than 700 million times on YouTube. Fox and Strange are seeking all of the profits from “Call Out My Name” as well as legal fees, and they want to block the Weeknd from performing or distributing the song until a verdict is reached. “Vibeking” does not appear to be publicly released, but you can revisit “Call Out My Name” below.