Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Williams have prevailed in a lawsuit over their 2014 collaboration "Spark The Fire." According to The Hollywood Reporter, a judge ruled in Stefani and Williams' favor on Tuesday, ending the lawsuit that claimed their hit song was too similar to another track from 1996.
Last January, hairstylist and singer-songwriter Richard Morrill sued both artists, Stefani's company Harajuku Lovers and her label Interscope Records for copyright infringement. He claimed that when Stefani came into his Huntington Beach salon, he played her his 1996 song "Who's Got My Lightah" and she then lifted parts of it to create "Spark My Fire."
But this week, U.S. District Judge Dolly M. Gee ruled in favor of the defendants. According to the Hollywood Reporter article, Gee found that Morrill didn't have enough evidence to support his claims. The fact that both songs pronounce the words "fire" and "lighter" the same way is not evidence of copyright infringement, Gee declared, as it's "a common practice in African-American vernacular English."
The fact that both songs rhyme those two words in the same place doesn't prove his case either, the judge explained, because "the last word in the line of a song often rhymes."
"Spark The Fire" was released on Dec. 1, 2014 - the same night that Stefani and Williams performed it on NBC's singing competition "The Voice." The song was only a modest hit, though, climbing to number 38 on Billboard's Pop Digital Songs Chart and number 29 on the magazine's Dance Club Songs Chart. Though it may not have been a massive success, there's now no question that it was Stefani and Williams' original work.
While she and Williams haven't collaborated on new music since the release of "Spark The Fire," Stefani saw her next album This Is What The Truth Feels Like debut at number one on the Billboard 200 and released her first Christmas record last year. She is currently in the middle of a Las Vegas residency and scheduled to be at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino through March 25, 2019. For more upcoming events at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, visit the AXS venue page.
For more on either Gwen Stefani or Pharrell Williams, click their names above to visit their artist pages at AXS.