John Legend Sued for Stealing a Song

A New Jersey man says the R&B singer lifted one of his songs.

Posted: 07/08/2011 03:33 PM EDT
Filed Under John Legend

John Legend has a reputation as a gentleman, but the acclaimed singer/songwriter has recently been accused of some less-than genteel behavior. Anthony Stokes, a singer based in New Jersey, is suing Legend for copyright infringement, claiming the Grammy winner took advantage of him and stole a song of his for the 2006 album Once Again.

Stokes says he met Legend as a student attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2004. The G.O.O.D. Music crooner was playing a homecoming concert, and Stokes was among a group of fans who stayed after the show to take part in an autograph session.

Stokes says he gave Legend a demo of his recorded music, including the song "Where Are You Now?" and his contact information. The young artist never heard from Legend, but alleges that the "Ordinary People" singer ripped off "Where Are You Now?" two years later with the song "Maxine's Interlude," which appears on Legend's 2006 album Once Again.

To lay ears, the two songs appear to bear little in common, compositionally, but both contain the refrain "Where Are You Now?"

Stokes says he registered his song with the United States Copyright Office back in 2004. It is unclear why he waited five years after the release of Legend's album to file his lawsuit.

Filed in court July 5, the suit includes photos of Stokes's meeting with Legend and seeks compensation for damages as well as a portion of profits and publishing. Stokes also seeks an injunction barring the sale of Once Again until the suit is settled.

(Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

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