UPDATE: Metallica Hit with Cease-and-Desist Order Over Plagiarism Accusation (And There’s a Twist to This, Too)

In another example of the axiom “Where there’s a hit, there’s a writ,” Metallica has been served with a cease-and-desist over their song “Moth to a Flame.” Michael Howard, rep for Brutal Records and Risky Music, home to a band called Incubus (no, not that Incubus; this was a metal band from the 80s that now goes by the name Opprobrium), sent Metallica this letter.

It has been brought to my attention, that you have made unauthorized use of my copyrighted work which is titled ‘Hunger for Power.’ Your work titled ‘Moth into Flame’ is fundamentally a close duplication of my work filed under the copyright of SR-130-298.

As you have not sought or requested permission/authorization to use, nor to make and/or distribute, sell, lend or lease my copyrighted work entitled ‘Hunger for Power,’ you are hereby notified to CEASE AND DESIST any and all further unlawful acts of copyright infringement with regards to your actions and/or statements relating to this matter.

Failure to comply with this notice will confirm your complicity and leave me no other alternative but to proceed to file a civil action suit seeking monetary damages and compensation for court and attorney’s fees incurred as a direct result of your unlawful actions of copyright infringement. It is not my wish to seek legal recourse; however, I will vehemently do all that is necessary to protect my work, ‘Hunger for Power,’ and interests. Please note that this letter will be the only warning I will provide.

THEREFORE, you are hereby requested to immediately CEASE AND DESIST any further acts of copyright infringement and within 10 business days return the signed written assurance below affirming that you will refrain from any further acts of copyright infringement.

There is a twist to all this, but first let’s compare the two songs.

Regardless of what decision you just came to, here’s the twist: Incubus/Opprobrium has no idea what’s going on. Andrew points to this Facebook post:

Huh. The mystery continues.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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