H.E.R. settles ‘Focus’ copyright infringement lawsuit

A settlement has been reached in a lawsuit filed against H.E.R., as well as DJ Camper, Justin Love and Sony Music Entertainment, over the 2016 song ‘Focus’.

First filed in June 2020, the complaint alleged that ‘Focus’, taken from H.E.R.’s self-titled 2017 LP, intentionally infringed upon Andre Sims’ original composition ‘Endless Minds’ without consent or compensation.

Sims, who has worked with artists such Stevie Wonder, created the song in 2004, posted it on Instagram and YouTube in 2015, and registered it with the US Copyright Office in January 2020.

According to Billboard, Camper (real name Darhyl Camper Jr.) said in an Instagram Live video that Sims’ ‘Endless Minds’ did inspire the melody of ‘Focus’, which he co-wrote with H.E.R. (real name Gabriella Wilson) and Love (real name Justin Anthony Barroso) and co-produced with H.E.R.

Sims initially filed a $3million lawsuit that accused the trio and the track’s distributor Sony of copyright infringement and requested injunctive and monetary relief.

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H.E.R. CREDIT: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, Pool

The original complaint alleged that “to write and record ‘Focus’, and ultimately to produce, perform, distribute and otherwise exploit ‘Focus’, Defendants [H.E.R., Camper, Love and Sony] copied ‘Endless Minds’, to which they had prior access, resulting in the song ‘Focus’, which is so similar to ‘Endless Minds’ that the ordinary observer could easily determine that the songs sound the same in their essential compositional and other elements.”

Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

“I’m happy we could reach a resolution, and would like to thank everyone for their support and prayers,” Sims, who is represented by James L. Walker Jr. and Renorda Pryor of Atlanta-based law firm J. Walker and Associates LLP, said in an official statement.

Walker Jr. added: “At this point, we have nothing more to say then we are pleased to see the case resolved and settled. Now, all parties can move on with their lives. Special thanks to all of the attorneys involved who worked tirelessly to close this matter out.”

Meanwhile, Barack Obama has shared his summer playlist for 2021, featuring tracks by the likes of H.E.R., Migos, Silk Sonic and more.