Songwriter awarded $44 million for uncredited Usher track
A Philadelphia songwriter who claims he was cut out of profits and credit from song that was recorded by Usher in 2004 has been awarded more than $44 million in damages, according to The Associated Press and the Philadelphia Inquirer. The suit targeted the track’s other co-writers; Usher was not named in it.
The lawsuit stemmed from songwriter Daniel Marino’s work on a song called “Club Girl.” Marino said in a complaint that he created a majority of the song, including its guitar hook, tempo, chord progression, and other elements, while Barton and Guice added a beat and lyrics, respectively.
The song was recorded by Usher in 2004 and renamed “Bad Girl.”
Marino’s former co-writer William Guice was ordered to pay $6.75 million in compensatory damages and $20.25 million in punitive damages. Earlier this month, Destro Music Productions, owned by co-defendant Dante Barton, agreed to pay Marino $17.35 million, bringing his total to $44.35 million.
The complaint claims that Guice, Barton, and Destro signed “secret contracts” with Usher’s camp, cutting Marino out of profits and credit. It also says Barton “explicitly acknowledged that Marino was owed money” until 2009, after which he “mysteriously disappeared” and Guice left Pennsylvania “to parts unknown.”
Marino initially filed a federal lawsuit in 2011 against 20 defendants, including Guice, Barton, and Usher, although a judge dismissed the case against every defendant except Guice and Barton. Marino filed his most recent suit in 2016.
Marino also received a third of the ownership rights to the song.
Marino represented by attorney Francis Malofiy, who also represents Spirit in the recent and ongoing suit that claims Led Zeppelin copied that group’s composition “Taurus” for is legendary song “Stairway to Heaven.”
“For seven years, against all odds, we believed in our client and his claims,” Malofiy said, according to the Inquirer. “The $44.35 million verdict and judgment finally vindicates Mr. Marino.”
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