According to a complaint filed in Los Angeles federal court, Lamar added his own lyrics to a “direct and complete copy” of Withers’ music to create “I Do This,” resulting in copyright infringement.
Lamar, whose “untitled unmastered” topped the Billboard 200 album chart in March, has ignored demands to stop exploiting Withers’ music, and “admitted” to copying it “with a thumb to the nose, catch me if you can attitude,” the complaint said.
The lawsuit was filed by Golden Withers Music and Musidex Music, which said they hold the copyright to “Don’t You Want to Stay.”
Withers sang and co-wrote the song, which appears on his album “Making Music.” Lamar’s “I Do This” appears on a self-titled extended-play album from 2009.
The lawsuit seeks a halt to the alleged infringement and unspecified damages.
A lawyer for Lamar did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Other defendants include a unit of Lamar’s record label Top Dawg and a publishing unit of Warner Music Group. They did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The lawsuit was filed in the same court where a jury in March 2015 awarded singer Marvin Gaye’s family close to $7.4 million after finding that the Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams 2013 smash hit “Blurred Lines” copied parts of Gaye’s 1977 song “Got to Give It Up.”
Another jury is to be seated on May 10 in the same court to decide whether Led Zeppelin stole the opening for its 1971 classic “Stairway to Heaven” from the song “Taurus,” recorded four years earlier by Spirit, a band it once toured with.
Lamar’s album “To Pimp a Butterfly” won five Grammy awards in February.
The case is Mattie Music Group et al v. Lamar et al, U.S. District Court, Central District of California, No. 16-02561.