Man Sues Bon Jovi, MLB, Others For $400 Billion Over Song He Claims Was Copied

from the idea-expression-dichotomy dept

We see stories all the time of people who write a story or a script and then when they see someone else has success with a similar idea, they assume that it was "stolen" and they're owed millions. Or, as the case may be, billions. A Red Sox fan named Samuel Bartley Steele, who apparently wrote a song called "(Man I Really) Love this Team," in 2004 got upset when he saw singer Bon Jovi release a song "I Love This Town" which was then used by Major League Baseball to promote the playoffs in 2007. He claims that he gave copies of the song to Red Sox execs, Red Sox players and MLB execs -- and thus Bon Jovi's song must have stolen from Steele's song. Of course, the two songs are apparently entirely different -- and even Steele's own musicologist testified that the songs were different. The district court tossed out the case, noting that no reasonable jury would find a similarity, but the guy has appealed and is asking for $400 billion, yes, with a b. If he won that much, perhaps he could donate some to the team to pick up a free agent outfielder or two this off-season, but I imagine that this case won't last very long.

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(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Nov 11th, 2009 @ 9:08am


    Steve Goodman, a true artist and baseball fan, is rolling over in his grave....

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 11th, 2009 @ 9:20am

    "Samuel Bartley Steele" wouldn't happen to be a pseudonym for Wolfgang Werle or his half-brother Manfred Lauber - the ones convicted of murdering Walter Sedlmayr, would it?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. icon
    The Groove Tiger (profile), Nov 11th, 2009 @ 9:51am

    400 billion? Isn't that like the entire US debt?
    (or used to be, before they ran out of digits in the Debt screen thingy)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Nov 11th, 2009 @ 9:55am


    No "Samuel Bartley Steele" is actually a pseudonym for Lily Allen and the song in question is actually off a MixTape on her site ....

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    No Imagination (profile), Nov 11th, 2009 @ 9:57am


    No, but you are correct, Wolfgang Werle and his half-brother Manfred Lauber - were the ones convicted of murdering Walter Sedlmayr

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Lennart Renkema, Nov 11th, 2009 @ 9:58am

    Surfthechannel vs Police

    Court of Appeal

    Published November 11, 2009

    Scopelight Ltd and Others v Chief Constable of Northumbria Police and Another

    Before Lord Justice Ward, Lord Justice Wilson and Lord Justice Leveson

    Judgment November 5, 2009

    The police could retain property they seized after the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to prosecute but a private prosecution was being contemplated or taking place.

    The Court of Appeal so stated when allowing the appeal of the defendants, the Chief Constable of Northumbria and the Federation against Copyright Theft, from a decision on a preliminary issue made by Mrs Justice Sharp ([2009] 2 Cr App R 365) at the commencement of civil proceedings in which the claimants, Scopelight Ltd, its directors, Anton Benjamin Vickerman and Kelly-Ann Vickerman, owners of a website called, sought to recover property including computers, servers, memory sticks and mobile phones, seized by the police pursuant to a warrant in the investigation of contemplated criminal proceedings.

    The judge ruled that, under section 22 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, in the absence of continuing independent justification, the police were not entitled to retain property seized under that Act once a decision not to prosecute had been taken by the Crown Prosecution Service, so that a private body could consider whether to bring a prosecution, or while that private prosecution was being brought.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Greg, Nov 11th, 2009 @ 10:19am

    Re: Re:

    Samuel Bartley Steele, meet Wolfgang Werle and his half-brother Manfred Lauber. They were convicted of murdering Bavarian actor Walter Sedlmayr. I'll leave the three of you in this soundproof room for a little while.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    NullOp, Nov 11th, 2009 @ 11:06am



    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    WisconsinGod, Nov 11th, 2009 @ 11:37am

    Re: US Debt

    To clarify $400 billion is only about 3.4 percent of the US Debt (currently at 11.9 Trillion, with a T)

    400 Billion is closer to the INTEREST we pay on the debt

    400 Billion is about half of what the IRS pulls in on income taxes.

    400 Billion is the TRADE Deficit of the US (Imports vs Exports)

    Ok, just wanted to clarify, back to your on-topic discussion

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. icon
    Overcast (profile), Nov 11th, 2009 @ 12:17pm

    400 Billion..

    The Red Sox + Bon Jovi isn't worth quite that much... lol

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    G-, Nov 11th, 2009 @ 12:25pm


    this guy is appealing for publicity's sake

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Smedrick, Nov 11th, 2009 @ 12:37pm


    Do we really need a musicologist to tell us if one song is different than another?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Captain Obvious, Nov 11th, 2009 @ 12:49pm

    Do we even need a musicologist?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. icon
    John85851 (profile), Nov 15th, 2009 @ 12:31pm

    Does this guy have an attorney?

    Here's the main question: is this guy filing the lawsuit himself or does he have an attorney?
    If he has an attorney, who in their right mind would think about asking for $400 billion in damages? Or did the attorney start drooling, thinking about his 50% cut of winning $200 billion? The bar association should disbar the attorney on those grounds alone!

    But, again, the larger question is: who are these attorneys that are telling their clients to sue for billions in damages? Who are these attorneys that are telling clients that they even have a case like this?
    Shouldn't a competent attorney realize the songs are different and not take the case? Or did the guy shop around until he finally found an attorney willing to take the case... for 50% of the $400 billion they thought they could win?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    L J Wilson, Aug 29th, 2010 @ 3:59pm

    Following this logic

    Having listened to Mr. Steele's song "(Man I really) Love this team" and following Mr. Steele's own logic, would lead one to believe that Mr. Bon Jovi himself would stand a much better chance at suing Mr. Steele for copy right infringement of the Album and song "Keep The Faith" by Bon Jovi from 1994. I think that would make a much better frivolous lawsuit. I certainly holds more merit.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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