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White Hinterland is not ‘Sorry,’ she’s suing Justin Bieber for copyright infringement
Is “Sorry” a ripoff of “Ring the Bell”?
Recording artist White Hinterland, whose real name is Casey Dienel, filed a suit against the pair this week, claiming that Bieber’s song “Sorry” (which Skrillex produced) samples her song “Ring the Bell” without giving her credit. Considering Bieber’s album broke Billboard records and the “Sorry” video has over 1.4 billion YouTube views to date, that’s a considerable amount of royalties on which she’s allegedly missing out.
Like most artists that sample music, Bieber could have licensed my song for use in “Sorry.” But he chose not to contact me. After the release of “Sorry,” my lawyers sent Bieber a letter regarding the infringement, but Bieber’s team again chose to ignore me. I offered Bieber’s team an opportunity to have a private dialogue about the infringement, but they refused to even acknowledge my claim, despite the obviousness of the sample. Justin Bieber is the world’s biggest artist, and I’m sure that he and his team will launch a full attack against me. But, in the end, I was left with no other option. I believe I have an obligation to stand up for my music and art.
While it’s ultimately up to a court to decide if the infringement is indeed “obvious,” you can judge for yourself in the meantime.
Here’s White Hinterland’s “Ring the Bell”:
And Bieber’s “Sorry”:
They certainly are similar.
Update 8:15pm CT: Both Skrillex and Bieber have responded to White Hinterland on Twitter, and both say they didn’t steal anything. Skrillex even offers his proof.
Christine Friar is a writer and editor in New York who focuses on streaming entertainment and internet culture. Her work has appeared in the Awl, the Fader, New York Magazine, Paper Magazine, Vogue, Elle, and more.