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🇬🇧 James Newman wins copyright case over “Waiting All Night”

Kelly-Marie Smith claimed that he had copied her 2006 track "Can You Tell Me"

James Newman, the UK’s Eurovision 2021 representative, has won a High Court case against Kelly-Marie Smith, who claimed that he copied “Waiting All Night” from her song “Can You Tell Me”. With the help of musicologists, the claim was dismissed.

“Waiting All Night”, co-written by James Newman, was a huge international hit back in 2013, hitting number one in the UK Official Charts and winning British single at the Brit Awards. The official video currently stands at over 220 million views on YouTube, and the track has over 170 million streams on Spotify. The song was conceived in 2012 when James was working night shifts in a restaurant while trying to get his career off the ground.

Former The Voice UK contestant Kelly-Marie Smith tried to sue Newman along with co-writer Jonny Harris and three members of Rudimental – Kesi Dryden, Piers Aggett and Amir Izadkhah. However, as the trial progressed, the copying allegations were pursued against James alone.

Ultimately, however, the judge found that while there were some limited similarities between “Waiting All Night” and “Can You Tell Me”, there were also important differences. He dismissed the lyrical similarities as “commonplace expressions” and the claims that James copied Kelly-Marie’s track (which was commercially unreleased) as “tenuous”.

Commenting on the case, James’ barrister Tom Weisselberg QC said the case was a “concocted claim that should never have been brought” to court.

United Kingdom at the Eurovision Song Contest 2021

James Newman was chosen to represent the United Kingdom at Eurovision 2021 in Rotterdam with the song “Embers”. James was originally due to represent the United Kingdom in 2020 with “My Last Breath”, before the contest was cancelled.

In a first under the new voting system, the United Kingdom scored “nul points” in the Grand Final. This is the UK’s second “nul points” entry after Jemini back in 2003. In the televote, 60% of countries placed “Embers” in the bottom two. The UK’s highest ranking came from the Polish jury who placed the song in 11th place.

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