It may have been an irresistible headline: Radiohead sues Lana Del Rey!
The old guard versus the new. Lawyers ganging up on an artist. Copyright litigation gone amok.
The reality is more complicated. But only slightly.
On Sunday, Ms. Del Rey confirmed a report in a British newspaper that Radiohead was considering suing her over her song “Get Free,” arguing that it sounded similar to Radiohead’s breakthrough 1993 hit “Creep.” The band was said to want songwriting credit, money or both.
“It’s true about the lawsuit,” Ms. Del Rey wrote on Twitter. The band had rejected her offer of 40 percent of the song’s publishing royalties, she claimed, demanding 100 percent. “Their lawyers have been relentless,” she added, “so we will deal with it in court.”
Tweets and news reports quickly embellished this to say that a suit had been filed. At a concert in Denver on Sunday, Ms. Del Rey stoked the fires herself by warning that the song might disappear from “future physical releases” of her latest album, “Lust for Life.”
“Get Free,” it seemed, was the latest victim of the so-called “Blurred Lines” effect: a new song accused of stealing from an old one by borrowing chords, texture or “feel,” the kind of generic elements that have long been considered fair game.
But on Tuesday, after a few days of silence, Radiohead’s music publisher, Warner/Chappell, made a statement confirming that it had requested credit for Radiohead, but denying that it wanted all of Ms. Del Rey’s songwriting money.