Truth Hurts With A $500 Million Lawsuit
Even before this little situation ever came about with the lawsuit, I wondered about the sample in the background of “Addictive”. Well, late Friday night as I was sitting down watching MTV, all about this sample popped up on the 10 to the hour news.
This is what’s going on.
An Indian film and music company is suing our R&B Princess “Truth Hurts” and her associated record labels of more than $500 million over the use of an unlicensed sample on “Addictive,” which is the first single from her debut album, Truthfully Speaking. And this hurts I know a lot!
A lawyer retained by the Bombay-based Saregama India Limited filed a copyright infringement lawsuit, which names the following as defendants:
Truth Hurts, Interscope Records, its parent company Universal Music Group, the album’s producer Dr. Dre and his imprint Aftermath Records, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division, on September 12.
(Why Blame them when it was DJ Quik?) Read and you’ll know why!
“Addictive” uses a sample of the 20-year-old song “Thoda Resham Lagta Hai” by a popular Indian artist “Lata Mangeshkar” without permission from copyright holder Saregama India Ltd., the company’s attorney Dedra S. Davis claims. Not only was a snippet of Mangeshkar’s soaring vocals borrowed, but the hook, melody and rhythm were also lifted, Davis alleges.
“When you hear it, it’s like, ‘Oh my god, they didn’t even try to get original with it,’ ” she said. “[They didn't] try to change it up or anything like that.”
You already know she was saying, “How lovely!”
A pre-trial hearing is scheduled for November 22. Saregama India Ltd. has a British subsidiary branch within the court’s jurisdiction in Texas, which accounts for why the case is being heard in Houston, Texas.
Dedra S. Davis said she issued Universal Music Group a cease-and-desist letter prior to filing the suit, which the label conglomerate ignored.
This all could have been avoided then or is someone not telling the truth?
Additionally, Seregama India Ltd.’s copyright manager asked UMG to stop using the sample because the lyrics of “Addictive,” in which rapper Rakim drops the f-bomb in his rhymes and Truth sings the lines “I like it rough” and “He makes me scream,” were potentially offensive to some Indians’ cultural and religious sensibilities. This letter only serves as evidence that UMG was made aware of Seregama India’s claim as copyright holders of the song, and the objectionable content doesn’t factor into the lawsuit.
UMG’s foreign subsidiary Universal India sought and was granted permission to license the song for an unrelated use as a cover 12 days before Truthfully Speaking was released June 26, furthering the suit’s claim that “the defendants clearly, and admittedly knew their activities were, and currently are, infringing on [Seragama's] copyrighted work.”
A Universal Music Group spokesperson had no comment on the matter.
The 90-year-old production and distribution company is seeking monetary damages based on profits from the sale of Truthfully Speaking, the single “Addictive,” attorney’s fees, and punitive damages amounting to $500 million. Truthfully Speaking has sold more than 273,000 copies, according to SoundScan. The complaint states that “the defendants’ infringing conduct has also caused, and is causing, substantial and irreparable injury and damage to [Saregama] in an amount not capable of determination, and, unless restrained, will cause further irreparable injury, leaving the Plaintiffs with no adequate remedy at law.”
DJ Quik, who produced “Addictive,” said that he stumbled upon the track one night on television.
“I woke up one morning … I turned on the TV and landed on this Hindi channel and just turned it up real loud,” Quik explained this past summer. “There was a commercial on and I just got up and went into the bathroom and started brushing my teeth. I’m brushing, and before I knew it, I was grooving … [the beat on the TV] was just in my body. I went back in there and looked at the TV — there was a girl on there bellydancing, just like real fly. So I pushed record on the VCR.”
Come on DJ Quik, you’re my boy and you know the rules! I’m starting to feel new people need to be hired on and placed in what I’ll call the “Licensing Dept” where producers have to come in and get clearance of any sample which could be done at any record label in your city. This is good for those producers who are not going to follow the guidelines.
Additional reporting from Joe D’Angelo | Sway Calloway – MTV News