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Lizzo, ‘Truth Hurts’
Lizzo, ‘Truth Hurts’via YouTube/Lizzo Music

Lizzo wins a court battle over ‘Truth Hurts’ plagiarism accusations

A countersuit from songwriters Justin and Jeremiah Raisen, which sought royalties from the track, has been dismissed

Lizzo’s hit song “Truth Hurts” is the subject of ongoing controversy between the musician and three songwriters, Justin and Jeremiah Raisen, and Yves Rothman, who accused her of plagiarising lyrics back in October 2019.

Following the accusation, representatives for Lizzo filed a lawsuit against the songwriters. In a statement they claimed that the aim was: “to establish, in a court of law, that the Raisens are not writers of ‘Truth Hurts’ and have no right to profit from the song’s success.”

Lizzo herself added her own statement October 23, which outlined her position. “As I’ve shared before, in 2017, while working on a demo, I saw a meme that resonated with me, a meme that made me feel like 100% that bitch,” she wrote. “I sang that line in the demo and I later used the line in ‘Truth Hurts’.”

“The men who now claim a piece of ‘Truth Hurts’ did not help me write any part of the song. They had nothing to do with the line or how I chose to sing it. There was no one in the room when I wrote it except me, Ricky Reed and my tears. That song is my life and its words are my truth.”

However, the controversy continued, as the Raisens and Rothman countersued in February 2020, once again claiming that they co-wrote the lyrics as part of another song with Lizzo titled “Healthy”.

Now, a judge in the United States District Court for the Central District of California has dismissed the songwriters’ countersuit against Lizzo, on the basis that: “a joint author of one copyrightable work does not automatically gain ownership of a derivative work in which the joint author had no hand in creating.”

Even now though, the drama looks far from over, as – according to Pitchfork – the judge has granted the plaintiffs leave to amend their suit to allege new and different facts. As Justin Raisen’s attorney, Larry Iser, says in a statement: “The court’s decision to dismiss just one of our five counterclaims is only a temporary setback, as Judge Gee has granted us leave to amend our pleading.” 

“We will be submitting amended counterclaims, which will address the court’s concerns with our original pleading. We know the truth may hurt, but Lizzo will not be able to continue denying our clients’ substantial contributions to the Grammy winning song for much longer.”