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Pop/rock

January 20, 1988|DEBORAH CAULFIELD | Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press

Lionel Richie remains in sticky contention about his hit song "Stuck on You." The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday sent to trial a lawsuit alleging that Richie got the idea for the song from a copyrighted work titled "Somebody's Got to Love Her," by Gene Thompson. In 1985, Thompson filed suit against Richie, initially charging that both "Stuck on You" and Richie's more popular "Hello" infringed the copyright to his song. Thompson later amended his suit to specify only "Stuck on You." A district court reviewed the cassettes and lyric sheets to the songs and found the works were not similar enough to justify a trial. But the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed, ruling in June that a jury should decide whether Richie had stolen some of the lyrics and music from Thompson's work. The appeals court noted that of 20 different pitches in the opening phrases of the two songs, 19 were nearly identical. In his unsuccessful appeal, Richie's lawyers argued the appeals court should have deferred to the trial judge's finding.

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