The Scituate native has filed a lawsuit against the pop star accusing him of ripping off the female vocal riff of her song “Ring the Bell”, which she wrote, recorded and released as White Hinterland in 2014. Also named in the suit is producer Skrillex, where, via Pitchfork, Dienel claims that Bieber’s “Sorry” steals “the specific and unique characteristics of the female vocal riff” of “Ring The Bell”.
Listen to both songs below.
In a Facebook post this week, Dienel outlined her lawsuit, and says she expects Bieber “and his team will launch a full attack against me. But, in the end, I was left with no other option. I believe I have an obligation to stand up for my music and art.” Negative comments towards Dienel are already flooding the Youtube video for “Ring the Bell”, and comments on her Facebook post are decidedly mixed.
Dienel, who creates atmospheric indie pop and released “Ring The Bell” via independent record label Dead Oceans, says she even privately reached out to Bieber about the riff, but was ignored. “Sorry” appears on Bieber’s 2015 album, Purpose, and spent three weeks at number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.
“I offered Bieber’s team an opportunity to have a private dialogue about the infringement, but they refused to even acknowledge my claim, despite the obviousness of the sample,” she writes.
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Read Dienel's full Facebook message below.
As many of you that follow my career and work have already recognized, Justin Bieber’s song “Sorry” copies the vocal riff prominently featured in my song “Ring the Bell.” The writers, producers, and performers of “Sorry” did not obtain a license for this exploitation of my work, nor did they obtain or seek my permission. Yesterday afternoon, I filed a lawsuit for copyright infringement against Justin Bieber and the other responsible parties.
After this post, I intend to leave the subject matter of the lawsuit in the hands of my lawyers and the legal system. However, because I do not take the act of suing lightly, I want to take this opportunity to briefly explain my decision to those of you who are connected to me through family, friendship, and music.
Creating original and unique music is my life’s passion, but it is challenging and time consuming. I poured my blood, sweat, and tears into writing and producing “Ring the Bell,” and I am proud of the finished product, which Rolling Stone listed as one of its “favorite songs, albums, and videos.” Throughout my career, I have worked very hard to preserve my independence and creative control, thus it came as a shock to hear my work used and exploited without permission.
Like most artists that sample music, Bieber could have licensed my song for use in “Sorry.” But he chose not to contact me. After the release of “Sorry,” my lawyers sent Bieber a letter regarding the infringement, but Bieber’s team again chose to ignore me. I offered Bieber’s team an opportunity to have a private dialogue about the infringement, but they refused to even acknowledge my claim, despite the obviousness of the sample. Justin Bieber is the world’s biggest artist, and I’m sure that he and his team will launch a full attack against me. But, in the end, I was left with no other option. I believe I have an obligation to stand up for my music and art.