British label admits artist ripped off Kiwi musician

MIKE ALEXANDER
Last updated 11:55 27/07/2014
Rhian Sheehan
PAT SHEPHERD/Fairfax NZ
RIP-OFF: Wellingtonian musician Rhian Sheehan

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A British record label has removed from sale a track by one of its artists after acknowledging it was a rip-off of a composition by Wellington musician Rhian Sheehan.

Manchester-based Broken Bubble issued an apology to fans who had downloaded Japanese artist Sunnova's track Silver Tear after Sheehan contacted the label and pointed out it was a blatant copy of his 2009 composition Standing In Silence Pt 2.

"I would have been flattered if he'd asked me for permission to use it and given me credit, but to use it without any mention or credit to the writer? How very naughty," Sheehan said.

Before the track was removed from sale, Sunnova, who was offering Silver Tear, off his new album Vermillion Eyes, as a name your price download, was roundly criticised on his Facebook page and accused of being a thief.

Sheehan, who was alerted to the "similarities" by a fan in Germany, said he had an "amicable" conversation with Broken Bubble who agreed to withdraw the track from sale.

"They seemed genuinely shocked that Sunnova would blatantly rip off someone else's work and claim it as his own," Sheehan said.

"They pulled the track and sent an apology out to everyone who had purchased it. However, I have had no explanation from the artist himself. I've tried contacting him too."

It's not the first time Sheehan has had to fight for his artistic rights.

Earlier this year, a segment of one of his tracks was used, but initially uncredited, in the official soundtrack to GoPro's video of Felix Baumgartner's world record freefall dive 24.5 miles above the Earth.   

The video has had more than 16 million views on YouTube.

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