Did Rascal Flatts Rip Off Pat Benatar?

‘Shadows’ of Another Song Heard in Rascal Flatts’ “No Reins.”

New York songwriter D.L. Byron is suing country group Rascal Flatts, their producers, and the Disney Music Group for copyright infringement. Byron, who penned Pat Benatar’s 1982 classic “Shadows of the Night,” claims the country trio’s song “No Reins” sounds a little too similar to his own published work.

Specifically, Byron filed a federal lawsuit claiming that the first 17 seconds of Rascal Flatts’ “No Reins” borrows from the chorus of “Shadows of the Night.”

“It’s just too much, too strikingly similar,” Byron told The New York Post. “They’d have to have a tremendous lapse of memory not to realize what they were doing. It’s my contention there’s willful infringement.”

Lawyers for Rascal Flatts guitarist Joe Don Rooney have a slightly different take on the whole issue. In a series of court documents, lawyers stated that, “To the extent that ‘No Reins’ shares any similarities with the plaintiff’s alleged copyrighted work, any such similarities between the two works are the result of coincidence and/or the use of common or trite ideas.”

Byron filed the suit in August 2008, but it is just now making news as Rascal Flatts’ performance at Madison Square Garden on February 12, 2009 marks their first trip back to New York since ithe suit was filed.

A member of Rascal Flatts said in court papers that any similarities between the two songs are purely accidental.

What do you think, readers?