On May 16, members of the Colorado hip-hop band Flobots filed suit against YouTube star Logan Paul for copyright infringement. The case focuses on "No Handlebars," a song and music video Paul released that references the Flobots song “Handlebars,” according to Billboard.
Flobots MC Jamie Laurie, aka Jonny 5, wrote the original in 2005 after learning to ride a bike with no hands. In 2008, the song blew up nationally after the band’s Fight With Tools album came out. "Handlebars" swept the nation and placed Flobots on the Billboard Hot 100 for twenty weeks and the Top 40 charts for seven.
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Paul’s version is all about riding girls like a bike. When Laurie saw the video on November 23, 2017, shortly after returning from a trip to Japan, he was disgusted and hit back with a dis track, blasting Paul for being a misogynist and an inept rapper, in a video called “Handle Your Bars.”
Flobots, whose members are known for being social-justice champions and general do-gooders around Denver, rarely swing at other artists. But irked by sexism, Laurie unleashed his fury on Paul for turning a Flobots song into an exercise in misogyny. Along with his bandmate Stephen Brackett, Laurie took to the press to decry the video.
“We don't usually go after specific people," Laurie told Westword at the time. "This is the language of the YouTubers. All of them battle each other all of the time; this is their language. I'll bet a lot of his fans didn't know we speak this language, that we're somewhat out of touch. No. We can speak this language all day."
Paul subsequently told TMZ that he didn’t know who Flobots were or why they were mad. He was just trying to have fun, he said, denying that he was a misogynist. He and his company went on to delete “No Handlebars” from their YouTube channel, though it is still widely available online.
The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court in the Central District of California, names as plaintiffs Laurie and Brackett, along with group members Andrew Guerrero, Mackenzie Roberts, Jesse Walker and Kenneth Ortiz, as well as Flobots Music LLC and Flobots Music Publishing.
The suit claims that Paul made more than a million dollars with the song and video and describes the similarity between the melodic, rhythmic and lyrical elements of each song, the use of “Handlebars” in the titles, the hooks and the instrumentation, including a viola and trumpet solo.
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"The substantial and lengthy similarities between the two works are undeniable," the suit states.
Flobots members declined to comment on the suit, and Paul did not respond to requests for comment.
In our 2017 story, Laurie said of Paul: "I'd like him to take a little responsibility and use his platform to have a positive impact on things."
The rapper also described the YouTuber as the face of "douchebag entitlement."