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John Legend Accused of SONG JACKING

7/7/2011 4:00 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

John Legend is a no good song-stealer ... at least according to some unknown singer, who claims Legend listened to his demo tape and then ripped off his hard work for profit.
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According to the lawsuit, filed earlier this week in New Jersey, songwriter Anthony Stokes passed his demo off to Legend back in 2004 ... after Stokes watched him perform at UNC.

Stokes claims Legend promised to listen to the song, but never heard back from him. Fast forward to 2006 ... Legend released a track called "Maxine's Interlude" -- and according to Stokes, it's a dead ringer for his track "Where Are You Now?"

Stokes wants to block Legend from selling the alleged rip-off -- and demands unspecified damages.

It's hard to hear the similarities if you listen to each song separately -- so we mashed them up ... the lyrics echo each other, and the key matches up nearly perfectly.

So we gotta ask ...

67 COMMENTS

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16.

Tracy    

I love the original song!! i had him as a friend on myspace years ago and that song was my profile music. Does anyone know where to download Anthony Stokes song? I looked on itunes and didn't see it. I think he goes by DeSean now, but only saw 1 other single by him.

1099 days ago
17.

moe    

John's song SUCKS. It sounds like everything else that he has done. BORING>>>> YAWN!!!!
Anthony's is much better!

1099 days ago
18.

jack-55d79    

No because aside from the "where are you now" (which is actually a "where are you, where are you, where are you now") and being in the same key, they're quite different. I don't think "where are you now" is a novel lyric:

http://www.songlyrics.com/search.php?section=search&searchW=%22where+are+you+now%22

I assume neither of them would claim they ripped off Janet Jackson's Where Are You Now. The mash-up is a bit like syncing Pink Floyd's Dark Side of The Moon with The Wizard of Oz; it works, but I don't think intentionally. I think slicing and interleaving it would be a better comparison, like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ly-3jIrlkYQ

1099 days ago
19.

His Prince Michael    

"Song Jacking" is both routine and encouraged within the foul and faltering "Music" "Industry". Undoubtedly, the large label-conglomerates are equally culpable along with the "artist", for Creative/Intellectual property infringement/theft.
The $177,000,000 ANSWER.

1099 days ago
20.

Rockachaw    

Thanks "Jack Johnson" for that great post. I am not convinced that this is actually a rip off in this case, but I will agree that the unknown song sounds a lot better.

1099 days ago
21.

Eileen     

I don't they sound that much alike. I don't like what Legend is singing but I LOVE what Stokes is singing. Now that's a great song!

1099 days ago
22.

Angel    

I don't understand why it takes so long for these people to come forward if they ripped my song off I would have filed as soon as it was released.

1099 days ago
23.

Jed Clampet    

I'm sorry to say that the song sounds ripped off, or at the very least, greatly influenced Legend's song, but I guess then you'd have to ask yourself, is it his song? Which then leads to the whole "no more original ideas" thing.

Deep man... deep like Ada, Legend of a Healer http://www.adaslegend.com

1099 days ago
24.

Jed Clampet    

I read Ada's Legend too. It was awesome

1099 days ago
25.

B    

Stokes has a really good voice. I like horns and all, but #2 is better.

1099 days ago
26.

Mandie    

Sounds pretty darn similar, especially when you consider Legend listened to Stokes' demo tape. Other websites are saying Louis Tambaro, Esq. from Marks & Klein is representing him, that's the same firm that sued 50 Cent over "I Get Money". This should be interesting!

1099 days ago
27.

Jed Clampet    

John Legend should read Ada, Legend of a Healer http://www.adaslegend.com . I think it would be a nice relaxer before what looks to be a really tense situation.

I wish him all the best and hope he didn't steal the music, but if he did, I hope the other guy gets what he deserves.

1099 days ago
28.

Truth    

BEYONCE AND JOHN LEGEND ARE RELATED. WHAT'S THE RELATIONSHIP YOU ASK??? BOTH TOTAL SWAGGER JACKERS. IF YOU GO BACK FAR ENUFF I'M SURE YOU WILL FIND MATHEW "PAPA" KNOWLES WAS ONCE MANAGER FOR BOTH COPYCATS!! TRUTH... AND THEN SOME, HAHA.

1099 days ago
29.

maria    

are you kidding me. i dont care what happens when you match the songs up they dont sound the same to me at all! i really dont think it was a rip off. And John Legends song is better.

1099 days ago
30.

Jill Scott    

Yes, it is definately very similar to the other man's song. Also, the other guys recording is much nicer. I like John Legend, but this guy certainly has talent.

1099 days ago
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