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Michael Jackson and Rihanna hit by lawsuit

Rihanna: told to stop the music.
Rihanna: told to stop the music.

Michael Jackson and Rihanna are the latest artists to be accused of copyright infringement, and it's all because of the "Mama-se, mama-sa, mama-coo-sa" hook that both of them have used.

As you probably know, Jackson employed it in Wanna Be Startin' Something, from 1983's Thriller, but it was actually lifted from Cameroonian singer Manu Dibango's 1972 song Soul Makossa.

Apparently, the two artists reached a settlement at the time - the problem has arisen because, in 2007, Rihanna used the same hook in her hit Please Don't Stop The Music. Jackson gave his permission for her to do this, but it seems that it wasn't his permission to give.

Now Manu Dibango is reported to be seeking €500,000 in damages, and has asked French courts (he's based in Paris) to prevent Sony BMG, EMI and Warner from receiving any income from the songs for the time being.

A court will decide on 17 February whether the case should be heard.

Take a listen to Soul Makossa below.

Ben Rogerson
Ben Rogerson

I’m the Group Content Manager for MusicRadar, specialising in all things tech. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 20 of which I’ve also spent writing about music technology.