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Pop divas turn copycats

International singers are stopping at nothing to make their acts a bestseller, even if it means plagiarising in the name of inspiration.

music Updated: Jul 04, 2011 00:24 IST
Hindustan Times

It seems like international pop stars have taken the saying, ‘Imitation is the best form of flattery’, a tad too seriously and are on an all time copying spree. Call it inspiration, plagiarism or coincidence, but artists being accused or sued for ‘striking similarities’ from existing works, has become more like a trend. Here’s a recap of some international pop divas who came under the scanner recently for taking ‘inspiration’ for their songs.


A Paris-based photographer, Philipp Paulus, has handed over a copyright infringement suit to singer Rihanna, saying that his images were recreated without permission for her S+M bondage themed video, reported. This is the second lawsuit that the Barbadian singer has received for her controversial video. Earlier, fashion photographer David LaChapelle sued Rihanna for allegedly copying eight of his works, including a shot in which she poses against a blue background with a piece of candy on her tongue.

Lady Gaga

GAGALast year, pop star Madonna sued Lady Gaga for plagiarism for the song Alejandro, which is similar to her hit — Like a Prayer. Many had started calling Gaga the the "new Madonna" due to her style. While Alejandro was a controversial success, the music style and Gaga’s movements were almost identical to those of Madonna’s number. To her defence, Gaga has said she feels honoured to be compared with Madonna and she was only paying a tribute to her. This year too, in February, when Gaga’s song Born this way released, many called the song a "Madonna rip off" due to unmistakable resemblance to Madonna’s 1989 hit — Express Yourself.

Jennifer Lopez

Singer-actor Jennifer Lopez was accused of copying her track On the Floor from a record by R&B singer Kat Deluna. Critics pointed out that both the tracks were produced by music mogul RedOne, and they claimed that the lyrics and harmonies are similar. However, Deluna said she was happy with the similarity of the records. “It’s cool that artists like JLo are inspired by my musical sound and style. Jennifer helped pave the way for Latinas like myself. I love her,” said Deluna. For the same Pitbull-featuring, Lambada-sampling single, JLo was accused by Indian singer-composer Bappi Lahiri for copying the tune from his song Sochna Kya from the 1990 movie, Ghayal. That’s another thing that Lahiri had himself borrowed the tune from Bolivian band Los Kjarkas’s 1981 number Llorando se fue, or possibly its 1989 adaptation by French group Kaoma.

Beyonce Knowles

Beyonce’s performance at the Billboard Music Awards in May, was well appreciated but brought her flak too. For the performance, she used an interactive video screen, strikingly similar to Italian singer Lorella Cuccarini’s performance in 2010. Even the features in the video were too similar. It turned out that the producer of Beyonce’s show, Tribel Inc Design, were the ones to produce visuals for Lorella’s performance too. Beyonce, however, cleared up the accusations, saying she was inspired by Cuccarini’s performance. Beyonce’s hit number Run the World (Girls) from her latest album 4, too, was criticised for copying works from artists.


Colombian pop singer Shakira has been accused for allegedly copying pole dance moves in her new music video, Rabiosa, from British model Kate Moss. The singer apparently copied both Kate Moss’s sensual movements and the model’s style of dress from her role in US rock band The White Stripes’ music video — I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself. Shakira has not yet given a comment regarding the accusations, and Rabiosa continues to be even more popular. The singer has been caught up in legal controversies a number of times in the past, most recently for failing to give Reggaeton artist Nejo proper credit for his participation as singer and author of some of the lyrics of her song Loca.

First Published: Jul 03, 2011 16:13 IST