James Newman was accused of copying a song from a Voice UK contestant (Picture: Rex Features)
Eurovision star James Newman scored a victory in his copyright legal battle after being sued by a former The Voice UK singer.
The 35-year-old, who has represented the UK twice at the Eurovision Song Contest, was taken to the High Court by singer Kelly-Marie Smith, who accused him of copying one of her songs for Rudimental and Ella Eyre’s 2013 single, Waiting All Night, which he wrote.
Smith appeared on The Voice UK in 2013 as one half of duo Nu-Tarna and claimed Waiting All Night was copied from a song she wrote in 2006, however, Mr Justice Zacaroli dismissed the claim.
Music experts determined that there are ‘objective similarities’ between Waiting All Night and Smith’s Can You Tell Me, but the differences ‘are not insignificant’.
Judge Zacaroli said it was unlikely that Newman heard Can You Tell Me as it had never been released commercially, adding that it was ‘impossible’ he heard the song in passing on the radio.
It was also said to be unlikely that Newman would have come across a 2007 video of Smith’s song which was shared on social media.
‘It is extremely weak and involves too many tenuous links,’ the court heard.
Newman provided a voice memo which offered ‘strong support’ for the argument that he wrote Waiting All Night ‘spontaneously and independently’ in 2012 while working night shifts in a restaurant.
The musician’s barrister, Tom Weisselberg QC, described Smith’s case as a ‘concocted claim that should never have been brought’.
‘Accordingly, the claimant’s claim must be dismissed,’ the judge concluded.
Smith sued Newman, his co-writer Jonny Harris and three members of Rudimental – Kesi Dryden, Piers Aggett and Amir Izadkhah. However, by the end of a trial the allegation of copying was pursued against only Newman.
Following the verdict, Newman was spotted leaving the High Court in London with a huge smile on his face, while giving photographers two thumbs up.
Waiting All Night was a commercial success, reaching number one on the UK chart and number two on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US. It also went on to win British single of the year at the 2013 Brit Awards.
Newman, who is brother to singer John Newman, represented the UK at this year’s Eurovision but received a disastrous nil points.