YouTube has removed a video by Hej Matematik, the band of Søren Rasted, the Danish former vocalist/songwriter of pop band Aqua, for allegedly infringing on the copyright for R.E.M.’s “Supernatural Superserious,” off their latest album, Accelerate. There’s one major problem with this accusation though: the song in question is based on samples from a 1981 Danish hit.
Hej Matematik (translated “Hey Mathematics), posted the video for their version of “Walkmand,” a song that was based on samples from Michael Hardinger’s “Walk, Mand!!” The Copenhagen Post reports, Hardinger not only approved of the band’s use of his song, but he even joined them on stage for a performance of the hit last May.
It is unusual that R.E.M.’s record label, Warner Brothers, went to such efforts to take down this music video when the band released an official studio recording of the song in July 2008, only months after R.E.M’s Accelerate came out. In fact, Hej Matematik’s alleged plagiarized song is currently their top download on iTunes.
Søren Rasted is best known for his work with Aqua, the Danish pop band that has sold 28 million records, including three number one hits in the UK and the song “Barbie Girl” which was a hit on American radio in 1997. In another unusual copyright infringement suit, Mattel claimed Aqua had damaged their trademark by referring to Barbie as a “Blonde Bimbo.” The case was thrown out in 2002 after a judge ruled the song was a parody.
Fans have posted live versions of the Danish song in question on YouTube, so you can compare R.E.M.’s “Supernatural Superserious” to “Walkmand” in the embedded videos below.