Blind Melon’s “No Rain” is one of those inescapable ’90s songs that everybody seems to like, even if it’s just for its groovy opening riff or fond memories of the dancing bee girl in the video. It’s 2016, though, so music’s not really about groovy riffs and bee girls anymore. These days, music is about big copyright infringement lawsuits, and Blind Melon is following the trend and taking a singer named Mandy Jiroux to court over a suspiciously familiar-sounding tune called “Insane.” Here’s both songs:
Interestingly, though, this case isn’t about whether or not Jiroux ripped off “No Rain,” because she obviously did. It’s about whether or not her song is such a direct rip-off that it legally counts as a cover. This comes from The Hollywood Reporter, which explains that the rights for covers work differently than those for samples or other referential works, and Jiroux’s manager initially presented “Insane” to Blind Melon guitarist Brad Smith as a cover. The song was even originally called “No Rain,” so Smith—who hadn’t listened to the song—said Jiroux didn’t need the band’s permission to cover it as long as it was registered with the publisher.
Once Blind Melon actually heard the song, though, it decided that “Insane” is “derivative” of their work, but it’s not actually cover due to its new lyrics and new beat (which Los Del Río might want to hear, if they’re still around). The band is now refusing to license “No Rain” to Jiroux, believing that “the value of its ’90s hit would be affected by conferring it to a relatively unknown artist,” and it has filed a willful infringement lawsuit against her as well.
Meanwhile, Jiroux is suggesting in interviews that Blind Melon is totally on board with “Insane,” reportedly telling iHeartRadio that the band “loved the song so much” that she’s now “the only artist that they’ve ever let use that classic hook.” Naturally, Blind Melon isn’t happy about that either, since that’s not at all how it says things went down. Also, just for one last fun twist, THR says that Blind Melon’s attorney is Richard Busch, the guy who won a bunch of money for Marvin Gaye’s family in the “Blurred Lines” lawsuit—which got a fun twist of its own earlier today.