April 4, 2019 / 12:53 AM / 8 months ago

The Weeknd sued by British songwriters over 'A Lonely Night'

(This April 3 story corrects The Weeknd’s song as “A Lonely Night” and the British songwriters’s song as “I need to love”, paragraph 3)

FILE PHOTO: The Weeknd performs at the Global Citizen Festival concert in Central Park in New York City, New York, U.S., September 29, 2018. REUTERS/Caitlin Ochs

(Reuters) - Canadian singer The Weeknd has been sued by three British songwriters over allegations he copied their work to produce his hit “A Lonely Night,” according to U.S. court documents.

Songwriters William Smith, Brian Clover and Scott McCulloch sued the Weeknd, Universal Music Group Inc and others in a Los Angeles federal court. The song in question appears on The Weeknd’s Grammy-award winning album “Starboy.”

The British songwriters heard “A Lonely Night,” recognizing it as their song “I Need to Love,” the lawsuit said.

The UK songwriters are seeking unspecified damages.

They edited the two songs together in a sound clip youtu.be/y-WCCWWYsj0 they said showed the similarities.

Joel Zimmerman, who is listed as an agent for The Weeknd, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The lawsuit said that in 2004 and 2005, the British artists pitched their song to various artists around the world. A division of Universal Music bought the rights to the song in 2008, the court document said.

In 2016, the songwriters were told by the label that the song had not been used and it was relinquishing all rights to their work, according to the lawsuit.

Two weeks later, The Weeknd and Universal released “Starboy.” Last year, The Weeknd was sued with an allegation that his song “Starboy” from the album of the same name, was a rip-off.

Reporting By Andrew Hay in New Mexico; Editing by Bill Tarrant and Grant McCool

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