Bellamy Brothers Question Dr. Luke In Britney Spears Case

Videos by American Songwriter

The Bellamy Brothers’ lawyer questions Dr. Luke’s “track” record.

“Gotta be a song left to sing, ’cause everybody can’t of thought of everything,” sang Gillian Welch on 2007’s “One Little Song.” But, really, how many hooks are left?

Recently news came from Florida’s Bellamy Brothers that they would seek legal action against Britney Spears for copyright infringement on their 1979 song, “If I said You Had A Beautiful Body Would You Hold It Against Me” – or, as Idolator put it, for using their “terrible pick-up line.”

Today the Bellamy Brothers’ attorney, Christopher E. Schmidt of Nashville, released a statement in which he explained the campaign against the pop star. “In my opinion, it is not necessarily the similarity of the titles that is of legal concern,” said Schmidt in the statement. “This would be more of a trademark issue. Rather, the issue is whether or not the exact lyrics ‘would you hold it against me’ are used in the same way in the hook of the song.”

Schmidt goes on to say that the real cause for concern is in the precedent set by the songwriting team behind Spears’ “Hold It Against Me.” That would be Los Angeles rainmakers Dr. Luke and Max Martin.

“For me, the scale tips substantially in knowing that Dr. Luke not only co-produced Britney’s song with Max Martin, but that Dr. Luke also co-wrote the song with Max Martin and others,” says Schmidt. “This isn’t the first time Max Martin and Dr. Luke have been accused of copyright infringement.”

Schmidt points out other examples where Dr. Luke compositions have been called into legal question, including Katy Perry’s “California Gurls” (The Beach Boys’ label has filed a diminutive claim for credit and royalties), Daughtry’s “Feels Like Tonight” (a copyright infringement suit in 2008), and, most notably, Avril Lavigne’s “Girlfriend,” for which a suit was filed and settled in 2008.

In a recent interview, Dr. Luke told American Songwriter that he’d never heard the song that he was accused of lifting for “Girlfriend.”

“There are standard chord progressions that everyone uses,” Dr. Luke said. “There are plenty of songs that are really similar and they never sued each other. We are a very litigious society today. You can fall on the sidewalk and sue the city.”

Listen to the two songs in question below.


Leave a Reply
  1. Maybe the Bellamy Brothers should have Googled that line themselves before making all this noise. That line was used in a Monty Python sketch in 1970. Maybe they should be paying royalties.

  2. If they actually try to take this to court they are going to lose badly. The other cases they mentioned, like the “Girlfriend” thing, had more substance. This is just a cheesy pick up line. Plus, I’m quite sure Dr. Luke (or even Britney) has never even heard this song. I never have nor have I ever heard of the Bellamy Brothers.

  3. Okay… I wonder if Groucho Marx was a co-writer on the song, because David and Howard stole the title from him. Secondly; I wonder if Mr. Schmidt is working on a contingency or if his advise to move forward in the lawsuit required a retainer… Makes you wonder on which side of the table the compositional thievery is taking place. Thirdly; There is no compositional similarity of any accord. When transposing the melody from both songs to the key of C you have the following notation with absolutely no compositional similarity:

    Here’s the Bellemy’s-
    If I said you
    C D E E

    had a beautiful body
    E E E E E E E

    would you hold it against me
    E E E E D D C

    Here’s Britney’s-
    If I said I
    E E E E

    want your body now
    E E E D D

    would you hold it against me
    C D E D C D DE

  4. it is Common Knowledge that ..People will take you to court for “ANYTHING” .. now, add Fame & money to the Mix let alone the Attorney leading the way and … there you go!,…and if the Laywers work on a Percentage of the Award… Well you guessed it,… why not!,..What have you got to Loose ?.. maybe a counter-suit……not Pretty..I’ve consulted on more than a few of these cases myself.. Good luck to all ! Nicoletti consulting Ph 949-715-7036

Leave a Reply

FAME Launches “Songwriters Of FAME” Online Series