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Ariana Grande has been slapped with a lawsuit by U.K.-based company Minder Music over a phrase that appears in her hit song "The Way."
Minder Music owns the rights to all songs from a 1970s disco band called The Jimmy Castor Bunch and claims that Grande used similar lyrics to the phrase "What we're gonna do right here is go back, way back, back into time" without a license, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The phrase, which Minder Music calls "iconic," has been used over the years by other pop artists, including N.W.A. and Christina Aguilera. They say Grande's lyrics "What we gotta do right here is go back, back into time" is "substantially similar" to the iconic phrase, which appeared in the song "Troglodyte."
Minder Music's lawsuit asks for $150,000 in statutory damages per infringement, a declaration of willful infringement and a permanent injunction."
According to The Tennessean, the suit also alleges Grande's vocal delivery while singing the phrase is similar to how the Jimmy Castor Bunch did on their 1972 song.
There is precedent for a suit like this having success, as Minder Music's attorney Richard Busch well knows. He sued Public Announcement and won for the use of George Clinton's phrase "bow wow wow yippee yo yippe yea," which appeared in the song "Atomic Dog." The group's usage of "dog" was also found to be similar to the Clinton track.