Imitation isn’t always the sincerest form of flattery, at least in the case of Robbie Williams.
The British crooner, whose hits include “Millennium,” and frequent collaborator Guy Chambers violated the copyright of a Woody Guthrie song as interpreted by Loudon Wainwright III, a British High Court ruled Monday.
High Court Deputy Judge Nicholas Strauss, in handing down the ruling, said that Williams and Chambers had “substantially copied” parts of Guthrie’s work “I Am the Way” in “Jesus in a Camper Van,” a track on Williams’ British album “I’ve Been Expecting You” and its U.S. counterpart “The Ego Has Landed.”
Williams and his publishers, EMI Music Publishing and BMG Music Publishing, now face a trial to determine how much will be paid to Ludlow Music of New York, according to Reuters. Ludlow owns the copyright on Guthrie’s and Wainwright’s tracks.
Williams told MTV News that he had received permission from Wainwright to borrow from the composition, although EMI and BMG had been in talks with Ludlow to reach a deal on the song before the lawsuit was filed earlier this year in London.