Chris Brown has been sued for copyright infringement over his track Privacy, released in March 2017 and taken from his album Heartbreak on a Full Moon.
Greensleeves Publishing is suing the singer, Sony Music, and the entity Chris Brown TV for copyright infringement. Brown is accused of stealing pieces of dancehall artist Red Rat’s 1997 song “Tight Up Skirt,” for Brown’s 2017 track “Privacy,” an RIAA certified multi-platinum track.
In court documents, the New York City-based publishing company claims that it “owns and administers exclusive music publishing rights in the United States” for “Tight Up Skirt.” The filing alleges that Brown “took the core musical feature” of the song and “used it prominently” in “Privacy,” and “without permission” at that.
The legal docs also point to a similarity in lyrics. Red Rat’s song includes the line, “Hey you girl inna di tight upskirt,” and Brown’s includes, “Hey you girl without a tight upskirt.” The complaint says that the lyric in question is “a focal point” in “Privacy” because the song has “a very spare instrumental accompaniment.”
Greensleeves is seeking over $500,000 in damages and over $1,000,000 for “the gains, profits, and advantages [Brown and SME] have obtained as a result of their acts of copyright infringement.” Additionally, the publishing company wants an injunction preventing the defendants from creating, promoting, or selling “any materials that are substantially similar to the copyrighted work.”
According to HipHopDX, when Brown’s song dropped in 2017, Red Rat revealed he was “getting many calls left and right from many people asking me about my thoughts regarding [Chris Brown] sampling ‘Tight Up Skirt’, and all I can say is, ‘Give God all the glory.’”
Greensleeves Publishing was founded in London in 1975 and released Red Rat’s song in the UK in 1997 from his debut album, Oh, No.. It’s Red Rat. The song was later made available in other countries and was registered with the U.S. Copyright Office in March 2020.
Brown is also currently being sued by his former housekeeper and her husband, who claim that the singer’s dog, Hades, attacked her.
Listen to both tracks in question below.