Miley Cyrus is facing a lawsuit filed by Jamaican artist Michael May, also known as Flourgon, for $300 million. May is accusing Cyrus of infringing his reggae song “We Run Things” with her 2013 hit “We Can’t Stop.” According to May, Cyrus’ chorus “We run things / Things don’t run we” is a little too similar to the line “We run things / Things no run we,” which May claims he created for the 1988 track.
Cyrus isn’t the only one in the crossfire—producers Theron Thomas, Timothy Thomas, and Mike Williams are also being sued by May, along with Cyrus’ manager Larry Rudolph, Sony Music, and RCA Records. The suit claims that the line from “We Run Things” was crucial to the success of Cyrus’ song. It also claims that “We Can’t Stop” benefited from the stolen language of Caribbean music, specifically of the Jamaican Patios. To back up his argument, May cited a 2015 interview with Theron Thomas where Thomas speaks about the influence of Caribbean culture on his music.
May’s attorney is calling for a compensation of $300 million as well as the prevention of further sale, distribution, and performance of the song. He claims they received copyright protection for all elements of “We Run Things” last November.
“We Run Things” reached the top of the charts at No. 1 single in Jamaica in the 1980s, and “We Can’t Stop peaked at No. 2 in 2013. But “We Can’t Stop” isn’t the only song under fire from the top of the charts from 2013. The No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 was Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” which was sued for copyright infringement over the 1977 Marvin Gaye song “Got to Give it Up.” In a more recent case, a suit was filed against Taylor Swift for alleged infringement of a line from Sean Hall and Nathan Butler for her single “Shake it Off.” Marvin Gaye’s family was awarded $5.3 million dollars and ongoing royalties from Thicke’s song; Swift’s suit was dismissed earlier this year.
May’s case against Cyrus was filed in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan and is currently pending.