The Weeknd has some new legal troubles on his hands. The singer has been accused of plagiarism by an electro-house duo in a new lawsuit. Epikker’s Suniel Fox and Henry Strange claim the singer’s 2018 track, “Call Out My Name,” off his EP My Dear Melancholy, ripped off their 2017 song “Vibeking.” The lawsuit also takes aim at the song’s co-writers Frank Dukes and Nicolas Jaar, their publishers, and Universal Music Group.
In court documents, Fox and Strange claim that “Vibeking” was created in April 2015 and published “in or around April or May 2017.” The duo adds that they sent the song to PNDA, one of The Weeknd’s engineers, with the hope that he would hear the song. They add that the track was one of many songs they sent to him for consideration.
On April 29, 2015 PNDA allegedly responded to one of the writers and told them that the song is “fiiiire” in emails that contained the track. Later, on May 15 of that year, PNDA added that The Weeknd heard the song and said that “it’s fire.”
PNDA then responded to Strange saying, “Just gonna tell [The Weeknd] that our production team wrote the track. Cool? Or u have another idea? Just don’t wanna say ‘hey, [Strange] wrote this’ when he doesn’t know u.” Strange replied, “[The Weeknd] knows me. Say both. [Strange] with Ponytail you met on Drake tour. Who is part of our production team.”
Despite this, the “Vibeking” writers did not receive a license or agreement from The Weeknd’s team to use the song for “Call Out My Name.” Chris Ghazarian, the lawyer representing the “Vibeking” writers, spoke on behalf of them in regards to the lawsuit.
“The Weeknd is no stranger to accusations of infringement, and this one is probably the most egregious case to date,” he said. “Epikker (Suniel and Henry) works with many artists in the industry, and was profoundly disappointed when The Weeknd and his team copied ‘Vibeking,’ an original Epikker song that was shared with them years ago in good faith.” He added, “I look forward to working with Doniger Burroughs to secure reasonable compensation and credit for Epikker in connection with ‘Call Out My Name.'”