Bowen v. Paisley, No, 13-414 (M.D. Tenn. Aug. 25 2016).
Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood did not infringe plaintiff's song, holds the Court in granting Defendants summary judgment in a case brought by a country music songwriter. The two songs at issue were called "Remind Me," and specifically their allegedly similar "hooks." The Court held that the plaintiff had sufficiently established originality and access, but that she has not presented sufficient evidence of substantial similarity between the two works to survive summary judgment. As to substantial similarity, in sum, plaintiff's expert identified the use of some similar techniques and musical devices, but she did not show that the two Works employ these techniques and devices in the same manner. Further, these technical similarities were overwhelmed by the broader dissimilarities in context, structure, mood, melody, and harmony—the very features a lay listener would be likely to identify.
In this case, however, the plaintiff does not allege literal copying of anything except the lyric phrases “remind me” and “baby, remind me,” and she has not shown that the defendants’ use of some of the same musical techniques and melodic features was similar enough to her use of the same techniques and features to render the expressions of the hook phrases in the two Works substantially similar. In short, the court finds that no reasonable juror could conclude, based on the undisputed evidence, that the songs overall, or the “hook” phrases specifically, are substantially similar.