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Paul Anka Claims 'This Is It' is a Rip-Off

10/12/2009 5:58 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

If you think Michael Jackson's "This Is It" sounds familiar, it's because the song is a rip-off that was released nearly two decades ago by another artist ... and the man making this claim is none other than music legend Paul Anka.



Anka tells TMZ in 1983, he wrote a song with Jackson called "I Never Heard" -- and the demo of the song was recorded in Anka's studio in Carmel, CA. Anka says he took the tape to a studio in Hollywood to put the finishing touches on it for Anka's duets album, "Walk a Fine Line." Anka claims Jackson -- who was just blowing up at the time with "Thriller" -- got a big head and "stole the tapes" from the studio.

Anka tells us he called the lawyers who repped both he and Jackson -- ironically one of them was John Branca -- and threatened them with a lawsuit if he didn't get the tapes back. Anka got them back but insists Jackson made a copy of the tapes and used the track with his voice from "I Never Heard" -- and simply retitled it, "This Is It."

Anka gave "I Never Heard" to another artist -- Safire -- who recorded it in 1990.

We called Sony Music who released "This Is It" ... no comment so far.

Anka tells us he's talking with his lawyers about his legal options.

297 COMMENTS

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16.

diane    

I suppose MJ will get the blame for this, even though he's dead and had nothing to do with releasing the song...you'd think Sony would have investigated before putting this song out. I like the song anyway. Too bad for all the criticism.

1734 days ago
17.

Souza    

OMG, this story gets better every day, enjoying the movie guys! Already!!

1734 days ago
18.

moveover    

So much for "greatest entertainer of all time"! How about "biggest rip-off artist" of all time?

1734 days ago
19.

illusionist    

Paul Anka - just another person trying to ride on Michael's coat tails. I wish people would leave MJ alone.

1734 days ago
20.

A.B.    

If the song was originally a joint venture by Michael and Anka, he has some rights.

McClain produced this latest version, and he works with John Branca. So why didn't Branca say something?

While I'm at it - why doesn't the estate sue Boteach for using the MJ tapes without permission?

1734 days ago
21.

Super Mom    

If Michael wrote the song there may be more to this. Did Michael sign away all rights to its use? If both were released by Sony, and Sony owned the song, then no laws were broken. Sounds like a non-issue to me. Not as though some noname has-been pop star could have made a song what it would be with Michael behind it anyhow. I'm sure "SaFire" (whomever she is) is just glad to see her name in print!

1734 days ago
22.

JBallz    

The lawyers repped he? Nice grammar.

1734 days ago
23.

ANYTHING FOR MONEY    


Though we cannot know for sure, does anyone here think that Michael would have wanted this track released and in its present form? With backing vocals by his brothers?!!! I am not suggesting that they have made a bad job of it but, given the choice, would he have agreed to it?
I feel physically sick to think of how they (SONY/AEG/THE FAMILY) are abusing him now he is no longer able to say or do anything about it.
Truly despicable.

1734 days ago
24.

this is it    

Another Phony Lawsuit, and you Daisy Can go eat yourself start with the Crabs between your Crack Ho.HO!Ho!

1734 days ago
25.

FULGY    

Another Lawsuit.
WOW! Did you do anything ethical?

1734 days ago
26.

Bonnie    

I'm just waiting for Kayne to check in because of course he alone has the definitive answer for everything to do with music.

1734 days ago
27.

esteepttrsn    

Michael wrote it back then and did the demo which we are hearing and was with sony/epic records so they can use it all they want that man needs to get a life.

1734 days ago
28.

Layla    

Dear Michael:

I pray you are in heaven with all of the angels watching over you.

Love you more Mike!!

1734 days ago
29.

WillaB    

Enough is enough!!! Leave the poor man alone!!! He's dead and this serves no purpose!!!

1734 days ago
30.

Hates Conan like crap    

Blatant rip-off. Give Paul Anka MJ's kids to make restitution.

They'll be happier, and Anka can get the child support.

1734 days ago
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