Pitbull and Ke$ha in multi-million dollar Timber lawsuit over 'identical' harmonica riff from the 70s

Original songwriters' claim not to have seen a penny from record sales

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The Independent Culture

A copyright infringement battle of Coldplay vs Joe Satriani proportions is brewing over Pitbull and Ke$ha's dancefloor-obliterating hit Timber, which features a harmonica melody which Lee Oskar claims is "identical" in sound to that of his 1978 song San Francisco Bay.

Songwriters Lee Oskar, Keri Oskar and Greg Errico are seeking $3 million in damages over the track, which topped charts around the world.

The trio claim that Timber's harmonica player Paul Harrington was instructed to "emulate" the intro to their song to give it "an identical texture and sound".

Here are the two sections in question:

[0:00 - 0:05]

[0:24 - 0:30]

Very often in these cases defendants will argue that similarities are coincidental or just not that strong, but in this instance the riffs are so similar that it is probably a rights issue.

Oskar, Oskar and Errico allege that Pitbull's label Sony "might have obtained a license" to use their song from a license holder, but insist that it did not have the permission from the actual songwriters.

The trio say they have not received any money from Timber, which has shifted 4,000,000 copies in the US.