When Miley Cyrus released "We Can't Stop" in 2013, it was the birth of the new, adult Miley— one who was edgier, very into twerking, and yet also wore a lot of onesies with teddy bears on them, like a baby might. Plenty of people had opinions on "We Can't Stop" — but this new beef with Cyrus' song is, surprisingly, a legal one. According to Reuters, Cyrus is being sued for stealing lyrics for use in her first adult single.
Per the new report, the accusation comes from reggae singer Michael May, whose stage name is Flourgon. May states that Cyrus and her label RCA Records used seven words from his 1988 song "We Run Things" on "We Can't Stop."
The lyrics in question on "We Can't Stop" are "We run things/Things don't run we." In May's track, the lyrics state: "We run things/Things no run we."
Here is Flourgon's track.
And here "We Can't Stop" by Cyrus.
It is unclear why May chose now to come forward about the song lyrics.
Per Reuters, May was reportedly granted a copyright for all musical arrangements on "We Run Things" at the U.S. Copyright Office in November of 2017. According to Reuters, a representative for May states that Cyrus "owes the basis of its chart-topping popularity to and its highly-lucrative success to plaintiff May’s protected, unique, creative and original content."
Per a press statement from May's lawyer, that adds up to an estimated $300 million dollars.
May also wants Cyrus to cease performing the song (yes, May is asking Cyrus to stop) as well as to halt all future sales of the track, Reuters reports.
This is not the first time a popular pop song was accused of ripping off lyrics. Taylor Swift was recently sued by the writers of the 3LW song "Players Gon' Play," for allegedly copying their lyrics for her song "Shake It Off." The lawsuit was ultimately dismissed in January.
Refinery29 has reached out to representatives for Cyrus for comment and will update this post should we hear back.