Yellowcard Hit Rapper Juice Wrld With $15 Million Lawsuit
Defunct Florida rockers Yellowcard, best known for their 2004 single "Ocean Avenue," are suing the Chicago-based Juice WRLD over the rapper's 2018 hit "Lucid Dreams." In the $15 million copyright complaint, the band claim "Lucid Dreams" lifts "melodic elements" from their 2006 track "Holly Wood Died."
Filed Monday (Oct. 21) in U.S. District Court in California, the complaint from former Yellowcard band members William Ryan Key, Peter Michael Mosely, Longineu Warren Parsons and Sean Michael Wellman-Mackin alleges those elements from "Holly Wood Died" were used by Juice WRLD and his collaborators in "Lucid Dreams" without the band's permission. They're seeking damages in excess of $15 million, demanding future profits from the song or statutory damages for copyright infringement. Listen to both songs toward the bottom of this page.
“Defendants copied the Original Work without license or consent, and have exploited the subsequent Infringing Work and Infringing Sound Recording to their collective benefit without regard to Plaintiffs' rights and to Plaintiffs' detriment," the complaint obtained by Billboard reads. "The Infringing Work and Infringing Sound Recording directly misappropriates quantitatively and qualitatively important portions of Plaintiffs' Original Work in a manner that is easily recognizable to the ordinary observer. The Infringing Work and Infringing Sound Recording are not only substantially similar to the Original Work, but in some places virtually identical."
In addition, Yellowcard are seeking further damages from Juice WRLD's tours and other appearances. The complaint — which also lists the rapper's co-writers, publishers and record label — says the "overwhelming success" of "Lucid Dreams" launched Juice WRLD's career and gave him "substantial opportunities to tour and perform."
In attempting to establish similarities between the songs, the complaint includes a chart highlighting portions of "melodic idiosyncrasy" reputedly shared between the two. Further, the complaint cites ties between Juice WRLD and entities identified as "emo pop rock" in establishing his access.
It continues, "The high degree of objective similarity between the Original Work and the Infringing Work extends well beyond the possibility of coincidence and could only reasonably be the result of an act of copying."
Those links are further fleshed out in the complaint. It notes the now 20-year-old rapper would have been around 10 or 11 years old when the Yellowcard song was initially released. Further, it identifies Juice WRLD as an arbiter of "emo rap," and it points out the rapper has previously stated an admiration for Fall Out Boy — a band similar in sound to Yellowcard — and their 2005 album From Under the Cork Tree.
"Holly Wood Died" appears as the closing track on Yellowcard's fifth album, Lights and Sounds, released in January 2006. The band broke up two years ago, after playing the entire 2016 Vans Warped Tour and one final show in March 2017. Juice WRLD's "Lucid Dreams" came out commercially in May 2018, after it was first released by the rapper on SoundCloud the previous year.
Juce Wrld, "Lucid Dreams" (2018)
Yellowcard, "Holly Wood Died" (2006)
12 Rappers Inspired by Rock Music