so what else is new?
R&B superstar Usher hit a $430-million gusher on his chart-topping “Burn “- while its songwriter claimed he’s been severely burned.
Songwriter Ernest Lee Straughter joined more than a dozen protesters Monday outside NBCUniversal Studios to demand the reality show judge on “The Voice” reach an equitable settlement.
Straughter this month appealed a federal court offer of $500,000 to settle his case.
“I just want a reasonable amount of money, then I’m gone,” said Straughter, 62, of Riverside, a songwriter/pianist from Los Angeles who has played with the likes of Earth, Wind and Fire, Barry Manilow and Herbie Hancock, who had sued Usher for plagiarism in 2008. “I lost my house and everything, because I had to represent myself.
“I wrote the music,” he said outside studio Gate 3 in Universal City. “Usher wrote the words. I just want my fair share for my family. ”
In 2004, Usher’s “Burn” hit top of the charts, with his album “Confessions” certified 10 times platinum.
But in his lawsuit, Straughter claimed his tune for “The Reasons Why” penned in 1998 for the group Reel Tight had been pilfered by the megastar. The suit named Usher, his co-writers and producer Jermaine Dupri.
Usher’s lawyers had said there was no relation between the songs, and had unsuccessfully asked the judge to reconsider her motion to allow the case to move forward.
A federal judge two years ago found there to be sufficient possibility that Usher and codefendants who produced the song had access to Slaughter’s work, “Reasons.” The judge accepted a musicologist’s report that noted substantial similarity between the songs and denied a motion to dismiss the case on summary judgment.
West Coast rap star Warren G. was named as the access link between Straughter and Usher, born Usher Terry Raymond IV. Usher’s lawyers denied Warren had any part in “Burn” creation.
Straughter, who had originally sought $25 million, said he was willing to settle for less than that. He lives with a fiance and three of his four children.
Usher Raymond has been the target of another plagiarism lawsuit from an aspiring New York songwriter who accused him and Alicia Keyes of pilfering material for the hit, “Caught Up. “