Portishead’s Geoff Barrow Claims The Weeknd Lied About Copyright Claim

Andrew Parks

By Andrew Parks

on 05.05.14 in News

As reported on Pitchfork, Portishead multi-instrumentalist Geoff Barrow has relaunched his court of public opinion case against The Weeknd. Last July, Barrow claimed the singer lifted the central loop in his “Belong to the World” song from Portishead’s own “Machine Gun” single despite being denied permission to do so.

“When someone asks to sample you and you refuse,” Barrow explained back then, “they should have the respect as a fellow artist to not use it.”

Abel Tesfaye’s management team must have responded in some way soon after Barrow’s initial statement because he then wrote, “Seems The Weekend [sic] have said there is no sample used or enough likeness to Machine Gun to warrant any infringement….or credit.”

Now Barrow has posted what appears to be a copy of a letter from last February that clearly asks Portishead if they’ll license the song “in perpetuity … including, without limitation, music videos, television, motion pictures, radio spots, transmission via the internet, downloads, streaming, mastertones, ringtones and ringbacks.”

Two things: (1) What’s a mastertone?, and (2) Why did Barrow wait nearly a year to share this evidence? After all, the similarities between the songs are undeniable. Maybe the case was already thrown out of court? Either way, you can compare and contrast the two cuts below, right after a scan of the complete letter…

The Weeknd x Portishead letter