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Alicia Keys Sued: ‘Girl on Fire’ Singer Accused of Copyright Infringement

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Alicia Keys‘ hit song “Girl on Fire” has literally … uh, come under fire.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, songwriter Earl Shuman filed a copyright infringement lawsuit in a California federal court last week. He accuses Keys of using parts of his 1962 single “Lonely Boy/Girl” without permission.

The legal documents explain, “Plaintiff alleges that Keys … did not obtain authorization concerning the use of ‘Lonely Boy/Girl’ before writing, distributing and/or exhibiting ‘Girl on Fire’ … Defendants are earning money from the exploitation of ‘Girl On Fire’ … without credit, attribution, payment of royalties, or other recognition of Plaintiff’s rights.”

Shuman’s song became a chart hit in 1970 when Eddie Holman recorded it as “Hey There Lonely Girl,” reaching #2 on the Billboard charts.

The song similarity was first noticed by blogger Roger Friedman at Showbiz411, in a November post. “In the middle of the song, Alicia sings a couplet or so from Eddie Holman’s 1970 classic ‘Hey There Lonely Girl,'” he said. “The song was written by Leon Carr and Earl Shuman, who are both gone to rock ‘n’ roll heaven.”

But Shuman is still alive and well, and after reading the post, he is believed to have contacted Friedman, telling him he needed a “good lawyer” on the case. Shuman wrote, “Hi Roger, I am the co-writer of ‘Hey There Lonely Girl’ and I appreciate your recognizing an important part of ‘Lonely Girl’ in Alicia Keys’ new recording. Thanks for your expertise. By the way, though my dear friend Leon Carr is in Rock and Roll Heaven, I’m still here on the ground, writing songs.”

Now, Shuman has decided to take action. In the lawsuit, Keys and the other “Girl on Fire” songwriters are named, as well as Sony Music Entertainment.

Listen to the two songs below to see if you hear a similarity.

Watch Eddie Holman’s “Hey There Lonely Girl” Video

Watch Alicia Keys’ “Girl on Fire” Video

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