Back in 2015, the Marvin Gaye estate secured a bizarre copyright judgment against Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke over their hit song "Blurred Lines," in which the Gaye estate argued (successfully) that even though "Blurred Lines" didn't copy Gaye's songs, it copied the feeling of Gaye's music — that is, that Thicke and Williams made a song that reminded people of Gaye.
This was a catastrophically bad ruling, since it required that musicians pretend that they had no musical influences, lest they face a similar lawsuit. People who pointed this out were called "alarmists" by copyright maximalists, who were sure that this decision would not spawn a generation of musical copyright trolls who'd go around shaking down musicians for big payouts from hit songs (every one of which, after all, is related in some way to the songs that came before it).
Here we go.
Last summer, Lil Nas X ("Old Town Road") and Cardi B ("I Like It") collaborated on a track called "Rodeo." This song did pretty well, and it's a pretty good song, and it managed to catch the attention of Don Lee and Glen Keith DeMeritt III, whose beat "gwenXdonelee4-142" was incorporated into Puretoreefa and Sakrite Duexe's not-very-successful track Broad Day.
Lee and DeMeritt have now filed a lawsuit against Lil Nas X and Cardi B, in which they assert that X and B's "Rodeo" has "a substantially similar overall sound and feel" to "Broad Day," because both songs are 142 bpm, and Rodeo has "guitar and wind instruments to evoke a certain aesthetic that is set against hip-hop elements derived from digital drum and bass elements" and "guitar and wind instruments to evoke a certain aesthetic that is set against hip-hop elements derived from digital drum and bass elements" and "the rhythmic guitar part outlining chords is replaced with a single note line playing an ascending then descending scale moving with the chord change" and "Rodeo's rhythmic guitar part is replaced with a single note line playing ascending and descending scales following the chord progression."
That is, the songs are recognizably from the same genre.
Mike Masnick predicts that the case will be settled with the "beat creators getting a song-writing credit" (and therefore a share of the songwriting royalties), because that will be cheaper than going to court.
And if they do, you can bet that this isn't the last time a case this stupid and ridiculous is filed. The "Blurred Lines" decision was a powerful legal gift to grifters around the world, a way to impose yet another tax on working, living, successful musicians.