- Felipe Souza – @felipe_dess
- From BBC News Brasil in São Paulo
One subject dominated social media earlier in the week. The suspicion is that the British singer Adele would have plagiarized a song by a Brazilian composer.
According to the prosecution, an expert found that the song Million Years Aug, released in 2015 by the pop star, would have copied nearly 88% of the melody of Women, which became known in the voice of Martinho da Vila.
In an interview with BBC News Brasil, the composer of the song Women, Toninho Geraes, said that he has already sent two extrajudicial notifications to the singer, to the label XL Recordings, responsible for the release of the song, and the producer and composer of Million Years Ago, Greg Kurstin.
None of them were answered and now the Brazilian composer has said that he will take the case to court.
He said he has been following fan reactions on social media through links sent by friends and believes he will succeed in the lawsuit, just as Rod Stewart made a deal with Jorge Ben in the 1970s.
“People have been very supportive of my cry for protection. The only thing I have in my life that I can say is mine is my music. I may lose, but my repertoire, my songs, this is my legacy,” he said.
The pressure of Brazilians on social media for an answer from the British singer has been so strong that Adele blocked the song’s comments Million Years Aug on Youtube.
According to Toninho, what he wants is a financial compensation on the profits obtained by the artist with the music, such as royalties with views on YouTube and Spotify.
“There was no nod of goodwill on their part. I think that, given justice, I will be compensated for what this song has already generated in dividends. Our desire is for public redress, but my intention was never to expose Adele,” he said. .
The report sought out the record companies responsible for the singer’s music production and distribution, XL, Sony Music and Universal Music, as well as Adele’s personal press office and music producer Greg Kurstin. Only Sony has responded until the publication of this report, saying it will not comment on the case.
Toninho said he learned of the similarity between the songs Women and Million Years Aug by his friend Misael da Hora.
“He contacted me and said he was at a party and thought: ‘This is Adele singing a song by Toninho Geraes’. He was happy and said he went searching to see if he had my signature on her song and he realized that there wasn’t,” Toninho told the story.
After hearing the British singer’s version, he sought out an expert copyright lawyer to find out if he was right.
Toninho is the author of other Brazilian music hits, such as Take me, recorded by Agepê, and Vtrue, by Zeca Pagodinho.
Toninho says he doesn’t know how Adele could have had access to music Women, but strange that the producer and composer of Million Years Aug be a great connoisseur of Brazilian music. In his Spotify profile, Greg Kurstin says he even learned to play berimbau.
“What is strange to us is the fact that her partner is a researcher of Brazilian music, of Paulinho da Viola, who is just like me in samba”, said Toninho.
For Toninho, the singer’s lack of answers demonstrates a disdain for Brazilians and a disrespect for the country’s culture.
“(This happens) when we have a crazy president, who is setting fire to the forest and who underestimates the pandemic. We need to earn our respect because people doubt our ability to discern, our ability to fight for our rights, and it’s not only Adele. We need to be guardians of our cultural wealth,” he said.
A team of three experts was hired by composer Toninho Geraes to try to retrace the path that could have led to possible plagiarism.
Attorney Fredímio Biasotto Trotta said that specialists in musical expertise unraveled the song recorded by Adele to try to understand the paths taken by the alleged plagiarists. According to him, experts have identified changes made to “make up” the original melody.
“An expert report that technically shows how this plagiarism was done, the compositional techniques that were used to reach it. This gives an even more serious character to our suspicion that there was an intentional plagiarism. The expert will demonstrate that there was a plastic surgery. What was removed and what was injected, making an analogy with surgeries,” he said.
The lawyer said that, for him, even the possible thesis of involuntary plagiarism is “hard to accept” after unanswered notifications.
“Adele’s silence caused us strangeness. Sony said it only distributed the album in Brazil, but it did not refute the plagiarism. As ugly as plagiarism is this silence. We made a notification with more than one hundred sheets of each notification”, said Trotta .
Rod Stewart and Jorge Ben
In the late 1970s, Scotsman Rod Stewart released the song DYa Think I’m Sexy?, which reached the list of the 500 greatest in history in the ranking of Rolling Stones magazine.
The production of the Brazilian singer identified that the refrains of the Scottish music and Taj Mahal, of Jorge Ben, were virtually identical, and filed a lawsuit against Stewart. They entered into a peaceful agreement and Stewart donated all proceeds from the music to the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef).
The Scottish singer told the case in his autobiography and assumed he had committed an unconscious plagiarism, as he listened a lot to the song Taj Mahal during a carnival that traveled to Brazil alongside friends Elton John and Freddie Mercury.
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