Judge dismisses claim U2 stole music for Achtung Baby song

Judge dismisses claim U2 stole music for Achtung Baby song

A U.S judge has dismissed a lawsuit from a British musician accusing U2 of ripping off a guitar riff from one of his songs.

British songwriter and guitarist Paul Rose made the claim at the beginning of last year that the Dublin band stole one of his songs for their 1991 album Achtung Baby.

Rose filed the lawsuit in a Manhattan federal court last year claiming that U2 lifted multiple elements of his song Nae Slappin for their hit song The Fly.

He said that the band had copied his song “virtually note-for-note,” and also used a tambourine and the same drum, percussion and bass line without permission.

According to Rose: “An ordinary lay observer would reasonably find that the songs are substantially similar and that an infringement has occurred.”


Well, we’ll let you make your own mind up on that one.

Here’s U2’s The Fly:

And, here’s Paul Rose’s Nae Slappin:

Rose also suggests that U2 were searching for a new sound at the time, and that The Fly’s “dance beats, distorted vocals and hard industrial edge sounded nothing like typical U2.”

At the time of the lawsuit, Rose was seeking songwriting credit for The Fly and ¢5 million dollars in damages and legal fees.


The judge concluded that the riff was not a “sufficiently substantial” portion of “Nae Slappin”, a three and a half minute composition that “demonstrates the plaintiff’s impressive guitar skills,” to be a protectable “fragment” of the work.

She also said that even if the riff were protectable, a reasonable jury could not find that U2 copied it.