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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

No Avatar
31.

Sincerity    

It would be up to Anthony Stokes to "prove" that he actually placed his demo in John Legend's hand which may not be easy. I'm not saying that John Legend didn't utilize what he heard on Mr. Stokes' demo but the "burden of proof" rests primarily with him. Similarities exist between the songs but pinpointing the "exact" source is what has to be done. He should have followed up with John Legend as a means to obtain a "solid" acknowledgement of receipt. He could have simply asked him, if he liked his demo specifying the "title" and "receipt date".

1121 days ago
32.

Elroy    

OMG, how can [some of] you people NOT hear that they are the same song? One is more polished than the other but if you did a sync/mash-up, there would be no confusion. I played the other guys first and listend with closed eyes then played legends and also closed my eyes. They are the same song and legend even uses some of the lyrics verbatim! If this guy can prove opportunity and access prior to legend writing and releasing his "version" then I guarantee you that Anthony Stokes will win.

1121 days ago
33.

footballisus    

Lyrickly he might of been inspired by that song musically I can hear a piano that sounds almost the same. But Legend got all these other instruments that are playing that make it sound differnt! So I dont think its a total rippoff at all.

1121 days ago
34.

Buster    

Anthony Stokes is so much better than JL.

1121 days ago
35.

billeeto    

john "legend", let's start with the narcissitic name, the guy needs to be brought down a few notches for that alone.. perfect example of ego without talent. the guy has no talent but loads of fools, fans and music biz hucksters buy into his "legend". its also perfect how he names his album "get lifted". his next album should be called "get a lawyer and sue my ass" and the one after that should be called "get paid cuz i'm still stealing cuz i don't have any real talent i'm a fraud"... luckily in the case of the brilliant Classics IV writers Buddy Buie and James Cobb, noted above, whose song "Stormy" the "legendary" song hack "lifted" , luckily for them they are getting paid plenty and never had to sue the fool or his ignorant producers. its a sad commentary on this generation of so called "R&B" stars who strut around like they have class but aren't really schooled ar cultured in the least, just posers. classics iv had class and talent alright. legend is legally bland.

1121 days ago
36.

JugEars McKenyan Sr..    

No way, a rapper rippin off bass lines and beats?

That's how the whole freakin parade started thanks to Aerosmith's Tyler & Perry being so wasted at the time loanin out their Walk This Way toon-age to Run(from the coppers)DMC because they were broke and broken...

See what happens when you're on drugs all the time like they were back then kids?? :( lol

1121 days ago
37.

kstat    

ugghhh.. these songs are both terrible. I couldn't get through either one, so I can't answer this poll.

1121 days ago
38.

MsRita    

WELL IT IS THE SAME SONG BUT THE OTHER GUY SANG IT MUCH BETTER. WHY MISS HIS SONG UP LEGAND IN YOUR OWN MINE.

PUT YOUR SONG ON ITUNES SO I CAN BUY BECAUSE HIS SUCKS BIG TIME LOSERS LOSE AND WINNERS WIN

1121 days ago
39.

MsRita    

WELL IT IS THE SAME SONG BUT THE OTHER GUY SANG IT MUCH BETTER. WHY MISS HIS SONG UP LEGAND IN YOUR OWN MINE

1121 days ago
40.

TheUltraworld    

It's rediculous. Just give the songwriter his credits & record the song.

1121 days ago
41.

Scott    

Ya.. the other guys song is x10 better.. John Legend is not that good of a singer, I saw him on one late night show and was asking why?? he can't really sing all that good.. he's like Ashlee Simpson

1121 days ago
42.

superunknown    

Not sure about these songs, but I agree with "Jack Johnson", Legend's "Save Room" definitely seems like a ripoff of Buddy Buie's "Stormy". I've gotten to know Buddy Buie as a neighbor since moving to Dothan, AL and never realized how often I've heard his music on the radio over the years. So surely someone like John Legend would have also heard the same music. Anyway, i'm glad Buddy is getting paid, he's a cool guy and deserves it!

1121 days ago
43.

bay area    

@chicago nick...since when is John Legend a rapper? And just to add, it really annoys me how the news and blogs call so many black male r&b singers rappers...ive seen it done to sean kingston, chris brown, ne-yo, trey songz and others. it's really racist and ignorant.

anyway, i NEED the full version of this anthony stokes demo single. it sounds amazing. I do like John Legend but he definitely has the type of arrogance that makes you want to punch him in the face.

1121 days ago
44.

worstfilms    

They are really nothing at all alike other than the line "Where Are You Now." No judge or jury will give the unknown guy a dime on this claim. If I were on the jury this would be a no vote, siding with Legend. But I will say that I think his song is a lot better than John Legend's.

This is not as open and shut as Avril Lavigne's recent rip-off of The Rolling Stones' "Get Off My Cloud."

1120 days ago
45.

worstfilms    

They are really nothing at all alike other than the line "Where Are You Now." No judge or jury will give the unknown guy a dime on this claim. But I will say that I think his song is a lot better than John Legend's.

This is not as open and shut as Avril Lavigne's recent rip-off of The Rolling Stones' "Get Off My Cloud."

1120 days ago
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