Record Labels Sue Guns N’ Roses, Call The Band Copycats

Nearly a year after the release of Guns N’ RosesChinese Democracy, two independent records labels have come forward to say they have a major problem with the band’s long awaited sixth studio album – a $1 million problem to be exact.

In a lawsuit filed Friday and made available Monday, British label Independiente and the U.S. arm of Domino Recording Company accuse Guns N’ Roses of ripping off tunes by German electronic musician Ulrich Schnauss, according to Reuters.

Domino Recording Company owns the licensing rights to songs by Schnauss.

The labels claim that “Riad n’ the Bedouins,” the ninth track on Chinese Democracy, steals portions from Schnauss’ songs “Wherever You Are” and “A Strangely Isolated Place.” The suit seeks $1 million in damages.

Fingers are pointed at singer Axl Rose, Guns N’ Roses band members and album producers.

Photo: Erik Ward /
Gibson Amphitheatre at Universal CityWalk, Universal City, Calif.

Rolling Stone reports that the lawsuit “focuses on 45 seconds of ambient soundscapes at the beginning of ‘Riad N’ the Bedouins,’ before the song breaks into full guitar assault that shares no resemblance to Schnauss’ body of work.”

The magazine also points out it will be hard to determine which artist dreamed up those 45 seconds first because although Schnauss’ songs were released in 2001 and 2003, “half the stuff on Chinese Democracy has existed for the better part of the last decade.”

The suit names Universal Music Group’s Interscope-Geffen A&M label and Axl Rose – the only original member of GNR – in addition to current and former Guns N’ Roses bandmates guitarist Brian “Buckethead” Carroll, bassist Tommy Stinson, and Robin Finck.

Chinese Democracy, GNR’s first album of original studio material in 17 years, was released Nov. 23, 2008.
Click here for the Reuters article.

Click here for the Rolling Stone story.