Jake Owen Copyright Infringement? Hit Song “Made for You” Accused

"Made for You" v. "Made for You"
20210728 Alexander Cardinale and Morgan Taylor Reid v. Joshua Ryan Jake Owen Sony Publishing Sony ATV 3 21 cv 00577

TLDR

Singer-songwriter Alexander Cardinale filed a copyright infringement lawsuit on July 27, 2021 alleging that country superstar Jake Owen’s hit song “Made for You” infringes on his own song “Made for You,” which was used internationally in a major 2016 Coca-Cola advertising campaign.

“Made for You” v. “Made for You”

Alexander Cardinale’s “Made for You”

Cardinale’s version of “Made for You” was first released in 2014, then re-released in 2016 to matching the timing of an international Coca-Cola that featured the song. According to the complaint, the campaign “aired worldwide in over 100 countries from January 2016 through June 2018 creating hundreds of millions of impressions worldwide” including the featured song in this ad, with 1.3m views. 

Video courtesy of Youtube.com

Plus, Coca-Cola released 250 million bottles featuring the title lyrics “I was made for you.”

alexander cardinale jake owen coke bottle copyright lawsuit
Coca-cola bottles featuring the title lyrics from Alexander Cardinale’s “Made for You” (image from Complaint, page 9)

Jake Owen’s “Made for You”

Jake Owen’s title “Made for You” released in May 2020, reached #1 on the Billboard Country Charts in May 2021, has been on Billboard’s Hot 100 for the past 11 weeks, peaking at #32. The music video, shown below, has amassed 12.4m views.  

Video courtesy of Youtube.com

Cardinale alleges that Owen “intentionally and unlawfully” copied elements of his song, namely the main hook’s lyrics and melody. He also claims there is no coincidence that Owen’s version written in May 2017 is “strikingly similar” because that was around the time the Coca-Cola campaign was popular.

alexander cardinale jake owen music copyright infringement lawsuit
Musical notation showing the similarities between the two songs, specifically the second measure (image from Complaint, page 12)

A Long Road Ahead?

In the wake of highly publicized copyright infringement lawsuits like Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” case ending in a $5m verdict for Marvin Gaye, followed by Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” verdict that was recently reversed (in favor of Perry),  this claim has the potential to follow the same trajectory. Whichever way the Middle District of Tennessee Nashville Division court decides—if it even gets to that points— will likely be significant for both the legal community, songwriters, and musicians. 

Leave a comment below with your thoughts on the similarity of the song! Do you think the chorus melody sounds exactly the same? 

The Complaint [FULL DOCUMENT]

Contents: 

  • Complaint
  • Copyright Registration #PA0002233661 (Cardinale’s version of “Made for You”)

PDF Download: Alexander-Cardinale-and-Morgan-Taylor-Reid-v.-Joshua-Ryan-Jake-Owen-Sony-Publishing-Sony-ATV-3-21-cv-00577-July-28-2021.pdf

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