It has long been an accepted fact that Britney Spears isn’t the most gifted songwriter in the world, but a lawsuit filed against the singer alleges her song “Sometimes” was written by someone else.
The Associated Press reports Spears, along with numerous record and publishing companies associated with her, has been sued by songwriter Steven Wallace for copyright infringement. Wallace claims he wrote “Sometimes” 15 years ago and wasn’t acknowledged when the song appeared on Spears’ 1999 debut,…Baby One More Time. Spears obtained a copyright for the song that year.
Though Wallace did not formally copyright “Sometimes” until 2003, he executed an informal copyright shortly after the song’s completion in 1990. In what is known as a “poor man’s” copyright, he sealed the song in an envelope, which was later postmarked. He says he shopped the song around in 1994 and in 1997 entered it into a Pennsylvania lyric contest.
The lawsuit seeks $150,000 U.S. for each instance Wallace’s copyright was infringed upon. To further his case, Wallace submitted a side-by-side, almost identical comparison of his song versus Spears’ version. He also included a copy of a dateless e-mail he says Spears sent him. According to CNN, the email reads, “I know now for a fact that you wrote ‘Sometimes.’ But there’s nothing I can do about it. That’s all I can say about it.”
Wallace’s attorney says he tried to deal out of court, but was met with a one-page document from Spears’ lawyers that denied the claim.
Spears’ label has not commented on the issue.
“Sometimes” is also included on Spears’ 2004 Greatest Hits: My Prerogative album. When released as a single, it peaked at #4 in the U.K. and #21 in the U.S.