Apr 19, 2016

Kendrick Lamar Lost for Original Lyrics in Latest Copyright Infringement Action

Grammy-winning rapper Kendrick Lamar is facing a lawsuit for copyright infringement over allegedly stealing a song.

According to the complaint, the rapper is being sued for using a 'direct and complete' copy of the Bill Withers' song "Don't You Want to Stay" for his own 2009 hit "I Do This"

Copyright Infringement

Copyright infringement is the act of using works protected by copyright law without the copyright holder's permission, infringing certain exclusive rights granted to them only, such as the right to reproduce, distribute, display or perform the protected work.

The lawsuit was issued at the Federal Court by Golden Withers Music and Musidex Music ("Claimants"), who claim they hold copyright to the song. The Claimants are seeking to halt to the alleged infringement and also claim damages from a number of defendants, including Lamar.

Other defendants include Warner Bros. Music, TDE (Top Dawg Entertainment) and Warner/Chappell. The Claimant's also believe that Lamar has openly admitted that his musical composition copies Bill Withers' song. They claim that Lamar has a "thumb to the nose, catch me if you can attitude". The complaint added that he had ignored requests and demands to stop infringing.

Lamar in the Firing Line

This is not the first time the artist has faced legal difficulty. Lamar was served with court papers in July 2015 when a photographer sued him for using a photo without permission for his "The Blacker the Berry" digital artwork, a single that appeared on his Grammy-winning set To Pimp a Butterfly.

Similar Cases in the Same Court

The current claim of infringement is filed at the same court where a jury awarded singer Marvin Gaye's family close to $7.4m (£5.2m) after finding that the Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams track 'Blurred Lines' copied parts of Marvin Gaye's 1977 song 'Got to Give It Up'.  We have covered this in previous articles the last of which was entitled "Copyright Infringement – Lines to be blurred again?"

Posted by: in: Case Law, Copyright, News

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