Saturday, January 22, 2011

Bellamys May Hold Britney Spears' Song Title Against Her

TAMPA - David Bellamy was a little surprised when a song he wrote more than 30 years ago was compared to the latest Britney Spears' hit. That is, until he heard Spears' song.

The title of Spears' single, "Hold It Against Me," brought to mind The Bellamy Brothers' 1979 country hit, "If I Said You Had a Beautiful Body (Would You Hold It Against Me)," Bellamy says.

Bellamy acknowledged that Spears' thumping, club-ready track was unlikely to be confused with the mellow, country-pop tune, one of several hits he and brother Howard scored in the '70s and '80s.

"But lyrically there are a lot of similarities," Bellamy said. "We think somewhere along the line there was intent to borrow from our song.

"We're not blaming Britney Spears," Bellamy added. "It may have been her writers and producers."
That's almost certain, as Spears' name appears nowhere in the writing and production credits. According to Billboard, the song was written by Max Martin, Lukasz Gottwald, Bonnie McKee and Mathieu Jomphe, and produced by Max Martin and Gottwald, who goes by the name Dr. Luke.

Bellamy said the next step will be submitting both songs to a musicologist, "someone who's not biased either way and who can say what the similarities are."

The brothers will proceed from there based on the findings."I'm not a lawyer," Bellamy said. "But I think the intent was there."Even so, it may be a hard sell to a judge or jury.

"A title is not copyrightable," entertainment lawyer Brian Caplan told MTV. "The expression, either in lyrics or music in a composition is copyrightable, however if something has been used previously by multiple sources, one can argue that it is trite or commonplace and the latter user has no right to it."

The Bellamys' title comes from an old pick-up line, which Bellamy says predates his own exposure to it on Groucho Marx's "You Bet Your Life" TV show.

"When we did the song live, we'd have old guys coming up saying, 'I used that line on my girl,' " Bellamy said.
The Bellamys hail from Darby and still reside in the San Antonio area. Bellamy spoke to the Tribune Tuesday while driving from home to Land O' Lakes.

The group scored its first hit in 1976 with "Let Your Love Flow."

The Bellamys will spend much of the next few months on the road, with dates around the South before heading to Europe. The group plays about 180 shows a year, Bellamy said.

Bellamy says he definitely never used the "hold it against me' line on his wife. "She knew the song already,' he says.

But he admits he "probably" tried it before his marriage, "but it never worked."
Calls and e-mails to Spears' label, Jive, were not returned.

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