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Songwriter Wins More Than $44M In Lawsuit Over 2004 Usher Song
Daniel Marino alleged that he never received credit or compensation for his work on Usher’s “Bad Girl,” and now his co-writers are being forced to pay up.
A songwriter has been awarded millions in a lawsuit over an Usher song, but the singer himself won’t be the one paying up.
After alleging that Usher’s 2004 hit “Bad Girl” was based off of an original song that he co-wrote, Philadelphia songwriter Daniel Marino’s legal battle came to an end when he won more than $44 million earlier this month, the Associated Press reports. Marino did not name Usher in the suit and instead targeted his former co-writer William Guice and Destro Music Productions, a company owned by co-defendant Dante Barton, another of the song’s co-writers, the outlet reports.
A jury in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court ordered Guice to pay Marino $6.75 million in compensatory damages, as well as $20.25 million in punitive damages, while Barton previously reached a settlement agreement to pay $17.35 million to Marino, bringing Marino’s total award to $44.35 million, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Marino was reportedly also awarded a third of the ownership rights of the song as part of the settlement.
Marino alleged in a civil complaint filed in 2016 that he, Guice, and Barton wrote a song called “Club Girl” between 2001 and 2002 that was later included in Usher’s 2004 album “Confessions” under the name “Bad Girl,” according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. While Marino did credit Guice and Barton with supplying the beat and the lyrics for the song, he claimed to be responsible for the majority of the song’s other elements, including the guitar hook, tempo, and chord progression, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Despite his contributions, Marino reportedly alleged, his former partners violated a contract to divide profits from their shared work by signing “secret contracts” with Usher’s representatives behind his back to sell the song and leave him completely out of the deal, which he claimed netted them around $700,000.
Marino’s battle to obtain credit for his work has been a lengthy one. He filed a federal lawsuit in 2011 accusing 20 defendants — including Guice, Barton, and, at that time, Usher — of fraud, but a judge ultimately dismissed every defendant except for Guice and Barton from the case, according to court records obtained by The Philadephia Inquirer.
Usher has not commented publicly on the suit. The “My Way” singer released his latest album, “A,” on Oct. 12.
[Photo: Getty Images]