Not even the dead can rest in peace when it comes to music. The estate of the late Christopher "The Notorious B.I.G." Wallace has filed a pre-emptive lawsuit for a song that was published 18 years ago.
'70s R&B singer Leroy Hutson sued Biggy's estate (widow Faith Evans and Biggy's mother Voletta Wallace) in 2012 for copyright infringement on his 1974 song "Can't Say Enough About Mom," which was co-written by Michael Hawkins. Hutson says that the last 1.9 seconds of the song was used without permission in Biggy's "The What" featuring Method Man and produced by Easy Mo Bee. Hutson in return wants "50 percent ownership in the Biggie song as well as 50 percent of income attributable to it" according to The Hollywood Reporter. In essence, Hutson wants compensation for the last two notes in his song because it was looped in "The What."
After 18 months of negotiations, Staci Jennifer Riordan the attorney for Notorious B.I.G. LLC, filed a preemptive complaint report. The report admits minimal sampling of the the 1970's song that was "modified and fragmented." It also states that Hutson's lawyers should take it up with Easy Mo Bee; there is a "Producers Agreement" dating back to 1994 where Bee signed off saying there were no laws violated/infringement on third parties and that he would take responsibility for any losses or damages.
Prior to the preemptive lawsuit, Mr. G. Pace Eubanks (Hutson's manager for more than 40 years) also sent notice to BMI, ASCAP and EMI demanding a stop to all album distribution and putting a hold on all royalties for the recording within seven days from said letter.
B.I.G.'s attorney is filing complaints for declaratory judgement for copyright non-infringement, fair use, copyright misuse, laches, statute of limitations and compensation for attorney fees. A court date has yet to be released.
You can read the full report online.
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Source: The Hollywood Reporter