Chances are that you’ve heard of the lawsuit against Lizzo. But recently a California federal judge dismissed the lawsuit against her by two songwriters who say they helped create “Truth Hurts.” October 2019, Lizzo asked the court for a declaration that brothers Justin and Jeremiah Raisen did not co-write her Grammy-winning hit song and are not entitled to any of its profits. The songwriters countersued in February, arguing that “Truth Hurts” is a derivative work based on a song called “Healthy” that they created with the artist in early 2017. Lizzo says that the only similarity between the two songs is the line “I just did a DNA test turns out I’m a hundred percent that [expletive].” And that line was inspired by a viral tweet that another songwriter, Jesse Saint John Geller, came up with. Lizzo gave Jesse Saint John Geller songwriting credit but discredited the brothers for their claim.
U.S. District Court Dolly M. Gee on August, 14 granted Lizzo’s motion to dismiss the brothers’ counterclaims, agreeing with the artist that a “joint author of one copyrightable work does not automatically gain ownership of a derivative work.” “Without deciding who, in fact, authored the songs at issue, and without reviewing the songs’ recordings or lyrics, the Court can determine that Counterclaimants allege that the parties collaborated on, and finalized, one song — Healthy — before Lizzo allegedly copied portions of that song to make Truth Hurts,” writes Gee. “As a matter of law, therefore, even if Counterclaimants are co-authors of Healthy, they have not alleged any ownership interest in Truth Hurts, which they claim is a derivative work of Healthy.”
“[T]he facts that Counterclaimants set out in their pleading — that the parties created one finished product, Healthy, and Lizzo ‘derived’ or ‘copied’ elements of Healthy to make a second finished product, Truth Hurts — are irreconcilably inconsistent with the facts as the Opposition now conceives them — that, all along, the parties intended Healthy to be merely a part of the process of creating a single finished product, Truth Hurts,” writes Gee. She notes “the parties do not address the impact of this contradiction in their papers” but, in the interest of caution, she’s giving them a shot and warns “inconsistent allegations may be used to undermine a litigant’s credibility.”