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Bon Jovi Song Theft Suit: A Strike Out?


10/10/2008
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(antiGuy Editorial) I saw the big headline this morning on antiMusic about Bon Jovi being hit with a $400 billion dollar lawsuit and after reading the actual story, I had to respond. Here is my take on this whole thing. Let me preface this with the following disclaimer: I hate Bon Jovi with the power of 400 billion suns. So I am the last guy with an agenda that would make me blindly defend these New Jersey swill merchants (no hate mail please, it's just my opinion). So it's with great self-loathing that I find myself in that precarious position. As much as I want to believe the worst about Bon Jovi, I don't think they did it.

Let me tell you how I see this before I tell you how I reached this conclusion. To me this accusation of song theft is like the creators of the 80s TV drama "Hill Street Blues" accusing the creators of "NYPD Blue" of ripping off their idea simply because they are both cop shows and have the word "blue" in their title. Before any know-it-alls write in, I do know the Steven Bochco connection between these two shows. But the analogy is one that works in this case if you ignore that fact. I'm sure Bart Steele believes in his heart of hearts that Bon Jovi lifted his song concept, but I see it as a coincidence at best. Maybe, just maybe Jon Bon Jovi was exposed to Bart's song somewhere along the line and it was the creative spark that inspired him to write his song, but I've seen far more clear cases of song theft get tossed out of court and Bon Jovi could probably hire a first year paralegal to write the answer to this lawsuit and get it dismissed.

I'm not going to waste a lot of time going over how I came to my conclusion. I read the lawsuit and the story of intrigue there, which was entertaining and sounds convincing, but I had to hear it for myself and fortunately our editor believes in letting people decide things for themselves and posted links to both songs. I suffered through most of both and came out puzzled because apart from them both dealing with baseball and having the words "I love..." in the hook line, I couldn't find any similarity at all. They are two totally different songs. I saw the complicated argument made in the lawsuit and maybe that can be sold to a jury. I wouldn't believe it, but that's just this one layman's opinion. And I'm not trying to get out of jury duty either.

I haven't seen that the Bon Jovi's people have officially responded to this lawsuit yet. Maybe they just got served with it and when the laughter dies down they will take a couple minutes to issue a statement. But my guess is they will have their attorney's simply submit their answer to the suit and include copies of both songs and their lyrics and it will get tossed out early in the process.

I'm not discounting Bart Steele's beliefs in what happened but looking at it from the outside, it just looks like a coincidence to me. But I do give him credit for being audacious with the lawsuit to get people's attention. Being generous I would say the band might see maybe a couple bucks or even three dollars from the wholesale price of each CD, which I would guess would be between eight or nine bucks. How that translates to $100,000 per disc, I just can't figure out. But I will say this. I love baseball and I love to share my opinion. So I hope no one gets any bright ideas about suing me for sharing my opinion on this matter. But if they do, I can just use my Bon Jovi credit card to hire a lawyer and counter sue.

That's my 2 cents as our old buddy Chuck Di used to say here, but go and decide for yourself. Here are the links:

YouTube video of the MLB promo video of Bon Jovi's "I Love This Town" can be viewed here.

Bart Steele's "Man I Really Love This Team" can be heard here.

One last thought. I have to admit another bias. I fricken hate the Red Sox. So that might have clouded my judgment too, but I doubt it.


antiGuy is a contributor to antiMusic and his opinions are fully his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of antiMusic or the iconoclast entertainment group, but you can bet he'll try and convince us.

Read the article that inspired this editorial.

[author's note: I wanted to add this after this posted. I did ask my editor to please post this right away without editing since the story just broke this morning. I will have the final version of this, properly edited, posted on Monday but I needed to add this now: If you read the lawsuit and see the big conspiracy unfold, I do have a simple answer to that which doesn't involve a conspiracy at all. Perhaps all of the people along the line heard the accusations, listened to Bart's song and decided it had no merit and didn't warrant a response. Come back Monday for my final word on this -aG]



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