Songwriter Sues The Rolling Stones for Copyright Infringement

Songwriter Angelslang filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against The Rolling Stones on Friday, March 10, 2023, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. The lawsuit alleges that the band’s song “Living In A Ghost Town” misappropriates key elements of Angelslang’s songs.

Sergio Garcia Fernandez, known professionally as Angelslang, authored the song “So Sorry” in 2006. The song was registered with the Sociedad General de Autores y Editores in Spain. The following year, Angelslang recorded the song “Seed of god (Talent in the Trash),” which was also registered with Sociedad General de Autores y Editores. The two songs were released in 2019 as part of Angelslang’s compilation album “Brick Songs.”

The complaint alleges that in 2013, Angelslang provided a demo CD containing the two songs to an immediate family member of Mick Jagger. The family member than emailed Angelslang “express[ing] that the musical works of [Angelslang] and its style was a sound The Rolling Stones would be interested in using.” In 2020, The Rolling Stones released the song “Living In A Ghost Town.” The complaint claims that The Rolling Stones “used unauthorized copying and sampling of ‘So Sorry’ and ‘Seed of god (Talent in the Trash),’ in the infringing sound recording.” The complaint points to “vocal melodies, the chord progressions, the drum beat patterns, the harmonica parts, the electric bass line parts, the tempos, and other key signatures” as misappropriated key elements of “So Sorry.” Further, the complaint cites “harmonic and chord progression and melody” as misappropriated key elements of “Seed of god (Talent in the Trash).”

Angelslang’s complaint names Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, collectively as The Rolling Stones, Universal Music Group, Inc., BMG Rights Management, LLC, and Promopub B.V., as defendants. The complaint’s sole cause of action is copyright infringement. The complaint requests relief in the form of (1) actual damages; (2) a share of profits; (3) statutory damages per infringement under 17 U.S.C. § 504; (4) an accounting in connection with the unauthorized use; (5) attorney’s fees; (6) costs of suit incurred; (7) interest, both prejudgment and post-judgment; (8) and compensatory damages.

Additional Reading

The Rolling Stones sued for copyright infringement, Yahoo! Entertainment (March 12, 2023)

Fernandez v. Jagger et al (Case No. 2:2023cv00891)

Complaint in Fernandez v. Jagger et al

Photo Credit: Bruce Alan Bennett /