I just have to say, this really is a load of crap and I will happily watch it be defeated in court. What a bunch of nonsense....
CHICAGO (CN) - A freelance photographer claims in court that Elton John
swiped the lyrics for his hit song "Nikita" from a song the
photographer wrote 29 years ago.
Guy Hobbs sued Elton John, Bernard John Taupin and Big Pig Music in Cook County Court.
John has collaborated with Taupin since 1967 on more than 30 albums, with Taupin writing lyrics.
Hobbs is an Australian freelance photojournalist who lives in Cape Town, South Africa.
to his complaint: "Hobbs took his first job as a photographer on a
Russian cruise ship, the Taras Shevchenko, at the beginning 1982. While
on board the Russian cruise ship, Hobbs became romantically involved
with one of the Russian waitresses. Their relationship occurred during
the height of the Cold war. The Russian crew could not leave the cruise
ship, but Hobbs had the freedom to travel anywhere he wanted.
leaving the Taras Shevchenko in the Spring of 1982, Hobbs was inspired
by his experiences with the Russian waitress to write a song in his
cabin called 'Natasha,' which consists of wholly original material. The
song centers around an impossible love affair between a Western man and a
Russian woman during the Cold War. 'Natasha' was, and is, a
copyrightable matter under the laws of the United States."
says he registered the copyright of "Natasha" in the United Kingdom in
1983. "In addition, he attempted to find someone to compose music to
accompany his lyrics, but could never connect with the right person,"
the complaint states.
In 1984, "Hobbs also forwarded the lyrics
to 'Natasha' to several music publishers of male solo artists, asking
them to consider publishing his lyrics and assist him to connect with
singer/songwriter collaborators. Big Pig was one of the music publishing
companies to which Hobbs sent his lyrics. At that time, he believed
that Big Pig was an independent publishing company. He was unaware that
Big Pig's sole purpose was to publish only the songs written and
composed by John and Taupin," the complaint states.
But in 2001,
he says, "Hobbs came across the written lyrics of 'Nikita' for the
first time in a song book. 'Nikita' involves an impossible love between a
Western man and an East German woman during the Cold War. When Hobbs
read the lyrics, he was shocked by the many similarities between the
lyrics of 'Nikita' and 'Natasha.'"
John released "Nikita" in
1985 on the album "Ice on Fire." The single hit No. 3 on the U.K.
Singles Chart and No. 7 in the United States.
Hobbs claims that
"both John and Taupin were aware of, participated in, and contributed to
the exploitation of the lyrics of 'Natasha' in the United States of
America, including in this District, through sales of albums, CDs,
digital downloads, radio and television airplay, and otherwise.
and Taupin have earned millions of dollars in revenue through their
exploitation of 'Natasha' and continue currently to actively exploit the
lyrics worldwide, including in this District, through sales of CDs,
radio and television airplay, and otherwise.
"On information and
belief, John's and Taupin's musical composition and sound recording of
'Nikita' was a top ten hit in most countries worldwide. 'Nikita' is
John's third most popular solo hit of his entire career, according to
the average rankings of the major global charts."
for Elton John told the New York Post: "Sir Elton John and Mr. Bernie
Taupin were surprised and disappointed to learn of the lawsuit for
copyright infringement brought against them by Guy Hobbs concerning the
lyrics of their '80s hit 'Nikita.' Sir Elton and Mr. Taupin do not know
the plaintiff, nor did they make use of any song lyrics he claims to
have written when they wrote 'Nikita.' In short, the suit is completely
meritless. The fact that Hobbs has chosen to wait more than 26 years
after the release of 'Nikita' to bring this lawsuit calls his motives
into question. Sir Elton John and Mr. Taupin fully expect to prevail
against this baseless claim."
Hobbs seeks damages for copyright infringement, and all the profits from "Nikita."
He is represented by Daniel Voelker.
Writer: By JACK BOUBOUSHIAN