Le Tigre have shared a statement opening up on their recent lawsuit against Barry Mann, challenging the singer over cease-and-desist letters alleging the band’s song ‘Deceptacon’ infringed on the copyright for his 1961 song ‘Who Put The Bomp (Bomp, Bomp, Bomp)’.
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As Rolling Stone reports, Kathleen Hanna and Johanna Fateman of Le Tigre said: “Last week, we filed a complaint seeking declaratory judgment in the Southern District of New York against Barry Mann. He wants money from us, and his goal is to own and control our song. We don’t want to sue anyone, let alone another artist, but we have no choice at this point. We just want Mann to leave us alone.
“‘Deceptacon’, which we wrote more than two decades ago, bears no resemblance to the song he wrote with [Gerry] Goffin in tone, melody, arrangement, or style. The lyrics that Mann claims to be theirs are not protectable by copyright, because they are not original to the song. Le Tigre didn’t need Mann’s permission to release ‘Deceptacon’ in 1999, and we won’t stand for his threats now.”
Le Tigre launched their civil lawsuit against Mann on Monday (October 11). In their filing, Hanna and Fateman rejected Mann’s claims that they’d copied lyrics from his track, saying: “Mr. Mann did not create these vocables or song titles; rather, it appears that Mr. Mann and his co-writer copied them from Black doo-wop groups active during the late 1950s and early 1960s.
“Specifically, it appears that Mr. Mann took ‘bomp-bah-bomp-bah-bomp’ from The Marcels’ distinctive version of ‘Blue Moon’, which sold over a million copies, and ‘rama lama ding dong’ from the Edsels’ then-popular ‘Rama Lama Ding Dong’. In short, the ‘Bomp’ lyrics at issue are not original to Mr. Mann, and Defendants have no legitimate copyright claim in them.”
The lawsuit also argues that Le Tigre’s twists on the word “bomp” qualify as fair use because the lyrics have “a new meaning that is directly at odds with and a clear criticism of the message” in Mann’s song.
Le Tigre made their comeback in 2016 with the single ‘I’m With Her’, released in support of Hillary Clinton’s US presidential campaign. Their most recent full-length offering was 2004’s ‘This Island’.