Johnny Depp and Jeff Beck Sue Back Folklorist Bruce Jackson Over Plagiarism Accusation
via Jeff Beck / Youtube
Johnny Depp and Jeff Beck sued back a folklorist and professor, Bruce Jackson, over a plagiarism accusation
Last August, Depp and Beck were accused by Jackson of plagiarizing the lyrics to their song “Sad Motherfuckin’ Parade,” which is included on their collaborative album, 18.
In 1974, Jackson wrote and published a book, Get Your Ass in the Water and Swim Like Me, it is a collection of various folk poems by African Americans. One of the poems included was “Hobo Ben,” which has the lines, “I’m raggedy, I know, but I have no stink / God bless the lady that’ll buy me a drink” and “What that funky motherfucker really needs, child, is a bath,” and which surprisingly appeared in Depp and Beck’s song.
Although the “Hobo Ben” does not have author credit, Jackson credited an inmate at the Missouri State Penitentiary named Slim Wilson for recounting the work. In the Depp-Beck song, neither of the two was credited as co-writers. Jackson claimed:
“They didn’t write a word of ‘Sad Motherfuckin’ Parade’ and they are suing the person they stole it from and who caught them doing it.
“From my point of view, this is like a burglar suing a homeowner because he cut his hand on the kitchen window, he broke getting in.”
“The only two lines I could find in the whole piece that [Depp and Beck] contributed are ‘big time motherfucker’ and ‘bust it down to my level. Everything else is from Slim’s performance in my book. I’ve never encountered anything like this. I’ve been publishing stuff for 50 years, and this is the first time anybody has just ripped something off and put his own name on it.”
Following the story, it was now Depp and Beck who are suing Jackson for his accusation. Jackson is being sued for “unspecified damages, legal fees, and a declaration that they did not commit copyright infringement.”