Jamaican songwriter Michael May, who performs under the name Flourgon, claims that the track infringes upon his 1988 single "We Run Things'". In a suit filed in the Southern District court of NY yesterday, May claims that Cyrus's 2013 Bangerz hit "We Can't Stop" owes "approximately Fifty Percent (50%) of the substantive content", as well as its "chart-topping popularity to and...highly-lucrative success", to his 1988 Jamacian hit "We Run Things".
Compare Cyrus' We Can't Stop above to Flourgon's We Run Things below.
May's lawyers claim that large elements of the song are "substantially similar" to "We Run Things", including the song's hook, vocal melody, cadence, inflection and vocal rhythm. May also said in the lawsuit that Cyrus' single "owes the basis of its chart-topping popularity ... and its highly lucrative success to May's protected, unique, creative and original content".
"We Run Things" reached number one in Jamaica and May says it has been "a favourite for lovers of reggae music worldwide" since.
Flourgon has instructed to sue the singer and her record company Sony to block further distribution, sales, and performances of the song. May also claims that their songs share the same general themes, calling both of them anthems of "defiant audaciousness in the realm of self-discovery and self-governance". You can view the full complaint here.