Eurovision singer James Newman wins copyright case over Rudimental hit

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James Newman at Eurovision 2021Image source, EPA
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Newman co-wrote the hit before coming last in this year's Eurovision Song Contest

Eurovision 2021 contestant James Newman has won a High Court case against an ex-Voice UK contestant who claimed he had previously copied one of her songs.

Before representing the UK at the song contest, where he came last, Newman co-wrote Rudimental and Ella Eyre's 2013 number one hit Waiting All Night.

It won best British single at the Brit Awards the following year.

Kelly-Marie Smith claimed the track was copied from a song she wrote in 2006. But a judge has dismissed her claim.

One half of The Voice UK duo Nu-Tarna, who appeared on the TV talent show in 2013, Smith sued Newman along with co-writer Jonny Harris and three members of Rudimental - Kesi Dryden, Piers Aggett and Amir Izadkhah.

But by the end of the High Court trial, judge Mr Justice Zacaroli said "the allegation of copying was pursued against Mr Newman alone".

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He concluded, with the help of musicologists, that while there were some limited similarities between the choruses of Waiting All Night and Smith's track Can You Tell Me, there were also important differences.

Any similarities in the lyrics, he said, could be down to the fact they contained "commonplace expressions".

The suggestion that Smith's little-known and commercially unreleased song had filtered through to Newman was based on "tenuous connections", he added.

Image source, Getty Images
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Newman has also co-written songs for Calvin Harris, Jess Glynne and Little Mix

Smith's legal team argued there were too many similarities between the songs to be explained away by "mounting coincidence". But Newman's barrister, Tom Weisselberg QC, said her case was a "concocted claim that should never have been brought".

He said Newman had conceived his song in 2012 when he was working night shifts in a restaurant while trying to make it as a songwriter.

Newman, now a performer in own right, finished last at this year's Eurovision Song Contest after being awarded zero points for another song, Embers.

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