The US Supreme Court has refused to get involved in pop singer Michael Bolton's long battle to avoid a £3.69m judgment for allegedly stealing a 1960s Isley Brothers tune.
The court, without comment, let stand a federal appeals court ruling that Bolton must pay. His lawyers had asked the justices to consider whether a California court erred in sending the case to a jury in 1994.
Bolton denied lifting his 1991 hit Love is a Wonderful Thing from a 1966 Isley Brothers release of the same name, and testified at trial that he had never heard of the earlier song.
The 1994 trial jury found that Bolton and a collaborator, Andrew Goldmark, had opportunity to hear the earlier song when it came out and that the two songs shared five distinctive elements.
Among the similarities the jury found were the title "hook," or musical phrase, and a "fade-out" ending that repeats one phrase at ever-softer volume.
The jury awarded Ronald and Marvin Isley 66% of all past and future royalties from the single and 28% of past and future royalties from Bolton's Time, Love and Tenderness album, which contained the song.