Alicia Keys is being sued for copyright infringement over her latest hit single, "Girl on Fire."
Songwriter Earl Shuman is suing the singer under claims that she used a sample from a 1962 song that he co-authored called "Lonely Boy" without permission, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
The song reached Billboard chart success in 1970 after being recorded by Eddie Holman as "Hey There Lonely Girl," topping the charts at No. 2.
According to Shuman, there is an uncanny similarity between the songs, but the entertainment newspaper notes that his suit may have been catalyzed by an Internet commentator who first blogged about the likeness in late November.
Roger Friedman at Showbiz411 suggested that "Girl on Fire" may contain an uncredited sample, writing, "In the middle of the song, Alicia sings a couplet or so from Eddie Holman’s 1970 classic 'Hey There Lonely Girl. The song was written by Leon Carr and Earl Shuman, who are both gone to rock 'n' roll heaven."
The couplet in question goes, "Nobody know's that she's a lonely girl, and it's a lonely world," which Shuman also believes Keys sung in the same style as the song he composed.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Shuman's suit shows little evidence of copyright infringement, except for quotes from Friedman's post, but with the aid of a good lawyer, the songwriter may be able to prove his case.
The suit, against Keys, Sony Music Entertainment and others involves goes on to say, "While the Showbiz411.com statements that Shuman has 'gone to rock and roll heaven' and concerning 'two seconds' of use are not accurate, Plaintiff alleges that the above observations by Showbiz411, in their essence, are apt."
According to The Reporter, Shuman's lawyer, Philip Kaplan has included a songsheet from "Lonely Boy" to the complaint, and notes the international success of Key's song as well as claims that it contains a drum sample from a different song.