Naples readers have probably heard the song “Domino” by Jessie J. (In case you haven’t, you can listen to it here.) But they probably have not heard the song “Bright Red Cords” by Loomis and the Lusts.

But that latter song is the basis for a copyright infringement claim against Jessie J, for whom “Domino” has been a big hit. Will Loomis, the California singer behind “Bright Red Cords” claims that Jessie J liberally used portions of his own song for “Domino” without asking him or paying a license fee. He has now sued Jessie J and her record label, Universal Music Group, and is seeking $150,000 in damages.

Jessie J, who has a co-author credit on “Domino”, has not commented publicly on the suit, so we do not know if she or her co-authors have ever even heard the song “Bright Red Cords.”

Lawsuits like this are not at all uncommon in creative industries like the arts. The marketability of a song, image, piece of writing or other work of art often depends on its distinctiveness and originality. After all, why would you buy something if it were exactly the same as something else? This is why artists have a strong incentive to secure and protect their intellectual property rights.

Of course, intellectual property isn’t necessarily available to you if your idea is not sufficiently unique. Though you could copyright the lyrics to a particular song, for example, you could never claim the idea of a love song is yours exclusively; it is simply too common an idea.

Does balancing those two core ideas seem difficult? It is, sometimes. That is why if you work in a creative industry, it is often a good idea to make sure you have an attorney who understands intellectual property rights on your side. They will probably be able to take care of any issues that arise, leaving you free to focus on other endeavors.

Source: BBC, “Jessie J faces copyright claim,” June 27, 2012