An Indiana judge dismisses a copyright lawsuit against Spears over her hit "Sometimes"

By Stephen M. Silverman
November 09, 2005 08:00 AM

Britney Spears showed that her hit song “Sometimes” was not plagiarized, leading an Indiana judge to dismiss a songwriter’s copyright infringement lawsuit against her, the 23-year-old star’s attorney has announced.

“I cannot emphasize enough this was not a settlement but a dismissal,” Spears’s lawyer, David R. Baum, tells the Associated Press. He added that there would be no financial payout of any kind, and that Indianapolis U.S. District Judge John D. Tinder reached his decision on Oct. 31.

Steve Wallace claimed in his lawsuit against Spears, Sony/BMG Music Publishing Inc., and recording and publishing companies that he had written “Sometimes” in 1990, though he acknowledged that he did not formally copyright the song until 2003 – four years after Spears registered her track with the U.S. Copyright Office.

A few weeks after writing his song in 1990, Wallace executed a so-called “poor man’s” copyright by placing his work in a sealed envelope and mailing it to himself to obtain a postmark. He reportedly shopped the song to music publishers in 1994.

“Sometimes” appeared on Spears’s 1999 album, … Baby One More Time and on last year’s Greatest Hits: My Prerogative.

Wallace’s attorney, John D. Ritchison, declined comment on the dismissal of the case.