Those accolades are outlined in the countersuit — filed Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Western Division — that argues” ‘Truth Hurts’ was ‘derived and copied’ from ‘Healthy.’ ”
“Lizzo is a talented musician and performer who currently enjoys immense popularity based on a hit song that she did not write alone,” lawyers for the Raisens and Rothman said in a statement. “The Counterclaims we filed today seek a judgment from the court that the song that is now called ‘Truth Hurts’ originated in Justin Raisen’s home recording studio from a collaboration among our clients, Justin and Jeremiah Raisen and Yves Rothman, along with Lizzo and Jesse Saint John.”
An attorney representing Lizzo in her suit against the songwriters did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.
The countersuit also cites a musicology report — commissioned by the brothers’ record label — which concluded that “ ‘Truth Hurts’ would not exist in its present form without the existence of and the borrowing from ‘Healthy.’ ”
Experts have said the dispute around “Truth Hurts” is unique because it involves a track that had not been previously heard by the public. Adding to the complexity of the claims is a fact upon which the Raisens and Lizzo agree: The DNA test line was itself inspired by a meme. The song had previously drawn the ire of Mina Lioness, a British singer who quipped “I did a DNA test and found out I’m 100% that b—-” in a February 2017 tweet.
In October, after Lizzo’s lawyer announced her suit against the Raisens and Rothman, Lizzo tweeted a statement acknowledging that she had come across the meme and repurposed it while working on a demo in 2017. “I sang that line in the demo, and I later used the line in Truth Hurts,” she wrote. “The men who now claim a piece of Truth Hurts did not help me write any part of the song. They had nothing to do with the line or how I chose to sing it.”
Lizzo added that the only other person in the room when she wrote “Truth Hurts” was producer Ricky Reed, who signed the singer to his Atlantic Records imprint, Nice Life, in 2016. But the singer did imply that Lioness would receive credit for contributing to the song. “I later learned that a tweet inspired a meme,” Lizzo wrote. “The creator of the tweet is the person I am sharing my success with … not these men.”
I just took a DNA Test, turns out I’m a credited writer for the number one song on Billboard.
— mina (@MinaLioness) October 23, 2019
Tweets are entitled to copyright protection “to the extent that what’s being tweeted constitutes an original work of authorship,” Lisa Alter, a copyright lawyer not involved in the Lizzo dispute, told The Post last year. Just suggesting the use of language from a tweet or meme — as the Raisens say Jeremiah did after songwriter Jesse Saint James came across the DNA test meme — would be a trickier basis for a copyright infringement case, Alter said, because “an idea itself is not copyright.”
The countersuit argues that the Raisens and Rothman contributed beyond that. “ ‘Truth Hurts’ is substantially similar to ‘Healthy’ both by objective musicological elements, and in its total concept and feel,” the songwriters say in their counterclaim.
The countersuit asks that the court dismiss Lizzo’s suit “with prejudice and in its entirety.” It also asks the court to declare the Raisens and Rothman “joint authors and co-owners” of “Truth Hurts.” Alternatively, it asks the court to “declare that ‘Truth Hurts’ is a derivative work of ‘Healthy,’ and that the three songwriters are entitled to “royalties and profits from the exploitation of ‘Truth Hurts.’ ”