Songwriter Sues Britney

Britney Spears has a dose of reality coming her way besides her TV show with husband Kevin Federline. An Indiana man is suing the pop star for copyright infringement, saying he wrote the song “Sometimes” 15 years ago.

Attorney John Ritchison filed the complaint on behalf of Steve Wallace May 5th in federal court, naming Spears, Sony/BMG Music Publishing Inc. and affiliated recording and publishing companies as defendants.

The complaint doesn’t specify damages outside of $150,000 for each instance the alleged copyright was violated.

According to court papers, Wallace admits he didn’t formally copyright the song that appears on Spears’ 1999 debut album, … Baby One More Time, and last year’s greatest hits album, until 2003.

After writing the song in 1990, Wallace did what’s called a “poor man’s copyright,” where he put a copy of the song in a sealed envelope and had it postmarked. He then shopped the song around in 1994 and submitted it to a lyric contest in Pennsylvania a few years later.

In 1999, Spears obtained a U.S. copyright for “Sometimes,” which allegedly has lyrics that are nearly identical to the ones written by Wallace. The songwriter submitted a copy of an e-mail allegedly from Spears acknowledging he wrote the tune.

Ritchison said his client, who writes pop, country and gospel songs, suffers from a neurological disorder called dystonia, which causes tremors at times and makes it difficult for Wallace to speak.

The attorney said he tried to settle the dispute out of court but got nowhere with Spears’ legal team.