Braindon Cooper and Timothy Valentine sued the superstars in October over “No Guidance,” calling it a “forgery” of their 2016 track “I Love Your Dress.” Among other alleged similarities, the accusers pointed to the fact that each song featured the phrase “you got it” in the lyrical hook.
But in a motion to dismiss the case filed Tuesday, attorneys for Drake and Chris Brown said that lyrical phrase was clearly too simple and commonplace to be covered by copyright law.
“Plaintiffs’ suit is premised upon the alleged similarity [to a] wholly generic lyrical phrase,” wrote James G. Sammataro of the law firm Pryor Cashman LLP, who reps the two stars. “No one, including plaintiffs, can own or monopolize the non-copyrightable phrase ‘you got it,’ and it should come as no surprise that this phrase appears in countless other works.”
“No Guidance,” released on June 8, 2019 off Brown’s ninth studio album Indigo featuring vocals from Drake, spent 46 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number 5 in October 2019. It was also nominated for Best R&B Song at the 62nd Grammy Awards.
In their October complaint, Cooper and Valentine said the song “unlawfully exploited” their earlier tune, released in 2016 under the name Mr. Cooper.
“Any comparative analysis of the beat, lyrics, hook, rhythmic structure, metrical placement, and narrative context demonstrates that No Guidance was copied or principally derived from I Love Your Dress,” the pair wrote.
On Tuesday, Drake and Brown’s attorneys begged to differ. They said the songs were “vastly different,” not just in lyrics but in many other respects.
“The Court can hear for itself that the total concept and feel of the songs is vastly different,” Sammataro wrote the pair. “Plaintiffs’ song is a slow, R&B love ballad about the writer’s wife featuring one vocalist and relatively few lyrics In sharp contrast, ‘No Guidance’; is a faster, longer, and sexually explicit rap and R&B song about a new romantic interest.”
They also said the lawsuit failed for a simpler reason: That Cooper and Valentine could not show Drake and Brown ever even heard their song, which is a key requirement for a copyright accusation. They said the lawsuit’s “speculative allegations” — that the song was widely available on the internet, or that they provided the song to someone who then gave it to Drake and Brown — were “:far too attenuated” to hold up in court.
An attorney for Cooper and Valentine did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday. The pair will file a formal response to the motion in the weeks ahead.