On September 12, 2017, the publisher of the legendary song “More Bounce to the Ounce” filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against music producer Mark Ronson. The suit alleges that Ronson’s hit song “Uptown Funk,” which has been certified 11 times platinum and held the number 1 position on Billboard’s Hot 100 for fourteen consecutive weeks, infringes Roger Troutman’s and the funk group Zapp’s 1980 song “More Bounce to the Ounce.”
Specifically, the lawsuit claims that “Uptown Funk” copied elements from an extended passage of “More Bounce” that constitutes more than one half, and is the “heart,” of “More Bounce.” The suit claims that “virtually the entire guitar part, bass melody and vocoder part of Uptown Funk, (as well as the combination and sequence of these elements in Uptown Funk), is copied from this continuous passage of “More Bounce to the Ounce.”
The complaint states:
The guitar part of Uptown Funk is comprised almost entirely of a two-bar chordal pattern and eight-note melody. According to defendant Ronson, it took him 82 takes to perform the guitar part in Uptown Funk. According to Ronson, the guitar part in Uptown Funk is “so good” that his stepfather, legendary guitarist, Mick Jones of the band Foreigner, did not believe Ronson created it.
The complaint also alleges that “More Bounce” was not the only song that was copied in “Uptown Funk.” The complaint says that after the copyright for “Uptown Funk” was registered, it was reported the defendants had later given members of The Gap Band writing credit on “Uptown Funk” due to its similarity to The Gap Band’s song “Oops Upside Your Head.” Members of The Gap Band (Ronnie Wilson, Charles Wilson, and Robert Wilson) and the producers of “Oops Upside Your Head” (Rudolph Taylor and Lonnie Simmons) are now identified as writers of “Uptown Funk” in the BMI Repertoire.
A copy of the complaint is available here.
In addition to Ronson, the lawsuit also names other writers of “Uptown Funk” Jeffrey Bhasker aka Billy Kraven and Philip Martin Lawrence II; publishers Imagem Music LLC, Imagem Music Inc., Imagem, C.V., Way Above, Inc., Sony/ATV Songs, LLC, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, WB Music Corp., Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., ZZR Music, LLC, and Universal Music Corp.; record label RCA Records through its parent/affiliated companies Sony Music Entertainment, Sony Music Holdings Inc., USCO Sub LLC, and Sony Music Entertainment UK Limited; and music distributors VEVO LLC, Spotify USA Inc., and Apple, Inc.
Notably missing from the lawsuit are Bruno Mars and two other individuals, Devon Christopher Gallaspy and Nicholaus Joesph Williams, who are each also identified in the BMI Repertoire as writers of “Uptown Funk.”
Here’s a link to “More Bounce to the Ounce”:
Here’s a link to “Uptown Funk”: