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Poison Accused of Plagiarism on Their Biggest Hits

Poison
Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images

Oh my god, look what the legal cats dragged in! Poison are being accused of stealing some of their biggest hits, which were also some of the most massive songs of the ’80s glam rock era. The band, fronted by the ubiquitous Bret Michaels, have been slapped upside the head with a lawsuit which claims the band plagiarized a handful of songs, among them ‘Talk Dirty to Me,’ ‘I Won’t Forget You’ and ‘Fallen Angel’ from its multi-platinum debt ‘Look What the Cat Dragged In.’

The Hollywood Reporter claims that the suit was launched by Billy McCarthy and James Stonich of the Chicago band Kid Rocker. The duo filed the paperwork on Wednesday in federal court in Illinois.

Since the songs were issued three decades ago, it begs the question: Hasn’t the statute of limitations run out by now?

The second major question here: who the hell is Kid Rocker? The name isn’t instantly familiar and the band is certainly not as well known. Unless of course you trolled the Sunset Strip in the ’80s and have infinite knowledge of the rash of bands from that era. But information about them isn’t readily available and Kid Rocker don’t even have a Wikipedia page. We obviously know Kid Rock, but Kid Rocker? Well, they were once signed to Atlantic Records and were allegedly a Hollywood glam/club scene mainstay in the ’80s. However, despite a degree of obscurity when placed in context of that era, the band says it wrote songs like ‘Hit and Run’ and ‘Wham Bam Slammin’ Romance,’ which were later folded into Poison songs.

So how did Poison have pre-existing knowledge of Kid Rocker songs? Well, the plaintiffs allege that guitarist C.C. DeVille tried out for their band in 1984 before he got the gig in Poison and during his audition phase, he was exposed to completed, formatted songs. The members of Kid Rocker also lent him a copy of the masters. Kid Rocker disbanded that same year but McCarthy still maintains that he gave songs to DeVille to use in Screamin’ Mimis, but he got the job in Poison.

Capitol Records and EMI Music are also named in the suit and McCarthy and Stonich are suing for copyright infringement. They are seeking damages and an injunction that prevents the band from performing the songs, which breaches their “rights.”

It certainly took the duo quite some time -27 years to be exact- to open their mouths about the “theft,” which their attorney acknowledged.

There are some legal loopholes of sorts that can be explored in this case, even though the statute of limitations appears to have been reached, although it’s not likely that the desired result will be achieved.

We’ll keep you posted.

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