A British songwriter and guitarist has swatted U2 with a $5 million copyright-infringement lawsuit claiming that the Irish rockers ripped off one of his compositions for their 1991 tune “The Fly.” The New York Daily News reports that Paul Rose, who now lives in New York, named U2’s four members and their label in his suit, which was filed Monday in a Manhattan federal court.
In the lawsuit, Rose alleges that “‘The Fly’ copied and incorporated substantial, distinct, important and recognizable portions” of a 1989 song he wrote called “Nae Slappin,” which he copyrighted in 1991. Among the key elements the suit claims U2 copied are Rose’s tune’s guitar hook and solo, and its driving percussion.
According to the suit, Rose’s agent had a demo tape of “Nae Slappin” passed along to executives at Island Records, U2’s longtime label, in 1989, while pointing out that the band recorded “The Fly” the following year. The lawsuit maintains that Paul’s song was “played and repeatedly listened to in the Island Records office,” while noting that U2 also frequently spent time in the offices during that period.
The suit proposes that the songs are too similar for U2 to have accidentally come up with “The Fly” without hearing “Nae Slappin.” The lawsuit maintains that the “Defendants have knowingly been exploiting ‘The Fly’ without crediting Rose as a writer for more than 25 years.” Rose is seeking $5 million plus attorney fees.
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