Singer-songwriter Ariana Grande is only 20, but many people in the music industry are already calling her the next Mariah Carey.
Grande’s song, “The Way,” spent 26 weeks on the Billboard charts this year and led her to fame, but it has also landed her and others on the receiving end of a lawsuit alleging copyright infringement.
The suit was brought by Minder Music, a U.K. group that owns rights to the songs written and recorded by The Jimmy Castor Bunch, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
The suit focuses on these lyrics from “The Way”: “What we gotta do right here is go back, back in time.”
A line from “Troglodyte,” the New York funk group’s biggest hit single, says: “What we’re gonna do right here is go back, way back, back in time.”
Minder Music, an independent music publishing company, claims the similarity of the words, vocal style and rhythm would be obvious to a lay listener and are clear indicators that Grande’s song is copying “Troglodyte.”
“The record begins with a spoken narrative,” Minder Music co-founder John Fogarty said. “The minute you hear it, everybody knows it’s from ‘Troglodyte.’”
Grande’s legal team says their client did not provide the lyrics in question and was unaware of any possible connection to “Troglodyte.”
“The alleged offending materials were not provided by Ariana, and we trust that the co-writers and producers will resolve the claim with Minder,” according to a statement issued to ABC News.
Malcolm James McCormick, Blue Slide Park Music, Republic Records, UMG Recordings, Universal Music Group, EMI April Music, Inc., Sony, BMG Rights Management and Songs of Kobalt Music Publishing are also named in the lawsuit.
Sony did not reply to ABC News’ request for comment.
The lawsuit against Grande comes as other high profile copyright suits are also in the courts.
The toy company GoldieBlox and the Beastie Boys are suing each other after GoldieBlox replaced the lyrics of the Beastie Boys’ 1987 hit “Girls” with more girl-empowerment words, “Girls to build the spaceship, girls to code the new app.”
GoldieBlox claims that by changing the lyrics from the Beastie Boys’ original, “Girls to do the dishes, girls to do the laundry,” the song becomes a parody that’s protected from legal action.
Singer Robin Thicke took a pre-emptive position this summer when he sued Marvin Gaye’s family over his hit “Blurred Lines.”
In this case, Gaye’s family countersued Thicke.
“I don’t think it’s any coincidence that a lot of these lawsuits are happening when artists of the ’70s and ’80s are finding it difficult to monetize their catalog,” Ted Johnson of Variety magazine said.